How Moms Can Survive the “Fall Back” Time Change With Young Kids

I live in Michigan, which is a state where we experience the time change each fall and spring. I have never been a fan, but I am really not a fan as a mom of nine. It’s so hard to believe that a one hour time change can be such a big deal, but somehow it can. While in theory it’s nice in the fall when the clocks turn backwards, giving you an extra hour of sleep, this extra hour is only a theory, in my experience. Since becoming a mom, there has never been an extra hour of sleep for me in 18 years. I truly find the “fall back” time change is a challenge in surviving for moms. 

Now, I understand that in years past this messing with the time was beneficial. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with farmers, but even in knowing a few farmers myself, they don’t really find falling back or springing forward to be a benefit. 

And, there are fewer farmers these days than there used to be. So, even if this changing of the clocks does help farmers, it just messes with the vast majority of people. 


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For us as moms, I think the goal is to have this time change go completely undetected by our kids. For older kids who can tell time, this isn’t as important. Generally by the time your kids can tell time, they are old enough to welcome the extra hour of time.

It’s trying to deal with the time change with younger kids that is the killer for us moms. 

But, here’s how you can survive the fall back time change with the young kids in your life.

fall back 2018

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Start shifting bedtime about three nights before the time change

In preparation for the clocks to move backwards, you can do this in small shifts rather than one big shift on the night the clocks actually change.

I find this works best by putting kids in bed 15 minutes late, beginning three nights before. That way your final 15 minute shift will be on the actual night of the time change.

Don’t mention the time change

Young kids just can’t comprehend what this means. And really, I can’t either. So, just keep it as business as usual in their world. 

Don’t mention the time change to your young kids, and don’t mention anything about the 15 minute earlier bedtime. In most cases, your young kids won’t even notice.

Keep the bedtime routines the same

Even when your kids are going to bed earlier, keep the bedtime routines the same. Whatever it is that you do before bed, keep doing that just as you normally do. 

Shift meals to the new time the day before

Since the new time takes affect on a Sunday, gradually shift the meals to the “new time” the day before in 15 minute increments. 

For instance, if you normally have breakfast at 8 a.m., have breakfast at 8:15 instead. 

If lunch is at 12:00, have lunch at 12:30 instead.

If dinner is at 5:15, have dinner at 6:00 instead.

This is kind of a pain and sounds a bit crazy, but it really has worked for me for years.

By following this step, your kids have bodies that are somewhat adjusted to the new time when Sunday hits.

Set your clocks to the “fall back” time during dinner

By this point, your kids are basically on the new schedule anyway so it’s time to make it official. Your kids will be distracted since they’ll be eating, and when they go to bed at “the right time,” nothing seems amiss. 

Speaking of fall back and clocks, this clock right HERE has been a HUGE LIFE SAVER every single day.

Avoid electronics

Since any phones and many electronic devices will still have the correct time, keep these away from your kids to avoid confusion. 

Take the extra hour

After all the preparations you’ve taken during the week, be sure to take advantage of the extra hour of sleep yourself. Resist the urge to stay up an hour later knowing what the “real time” is. We all could do so much with that extra hour.

But, it truly is an extra hour of sleep that is being handed to you.

As a busy mom, take it.

You’ve earned it. 

 

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