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How to Survive Springing Forward With Kids

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Here in Michigan, we have time changes twice a year, in the fall and the spring. Time changes normally aren’t the most enjoyable thing in the world, so when you have nine kids….yeah, even less fun. It is so strange that just an hour time change can create so much extra headache this time of year. It’s somewhat nicer in the fall, when the clocks fall back. But, then in the spring, the clocks spring ahead, making us lose an hour. I don’t know about you, but for me (and many other moms I know), losing an hour of sleep is not ideal. Now, despite my grumbling, I do know that time change has been important and beneficial in the past. I think it had something to do with farmers. However, I know a few farmers myself, and they don’t really find the whole dropping an hour, then adding it back again thing to be a real advantage in any way. For moms, surviving the time change can be nothing but a huge headache.

As moms, the challenge of the clocks springing ahead becomes something that we just do our best to survive. But, we can actually do better than that.


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The goal to surviving losing an hour of sleep is to seamlessly sneak into the time change without our kids noticing.

Thankfully, by the time our kids can tell time, they are usually old enough to understand the movement of the clocks and prepare for the shift. But, for those of us moms with younger kids, we need a few tricks up our sleeve to survive.

So, here’s how you can survive the fall back time change with the young kids in your life – from a mom of 9 to you.

survive time change

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Start shifting bedtime about three nights before the Daylight Savings Time change

I find that shifting the daily schedule in small increments throughout a period of days works better than having one big change the night of the change. To get ready for the time shift, start putting kids to bed 15 minutes later every night, starting three nights before the actual time change. That way, the final 15 minute shift will be on the night of the time change.

I know, I know, the thought of an extra 15 minutes can be brutal. But, trust me, you will feel less pain this way than you would taking the entire hour all in one big gulp. After all, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, right?

Don’t mention the time change

Younger kids don’t really understand what the time change is and what it means. To be honest, I still don’t understand either! So, just keep it as business as usual in their world. Don’t mention the 15 minute early bedtimes, either. Most times, little kids won’t even notice.

If they do, you’re just the super cool mom there for a few days.

Keep the bedtime routines the same for your kids

Even when your kids are going to bed 15 minutes earlier, keep the bedtime routines the same. Keep doing whatever it is you normally do before bed.

In our home, it usually looks something like house clean up, bodies clean up, devotions/reading time, brush teeth, bed.

So, we would continue with these exact same things, just slightly later.


Shift meals to the new time the day before Daylight Savings Time

Starting the day before, gradually shift meal times to 15 minutes earlier each meal.

For example, if you have breakfast at 8:00, have it at 7:45 instead.

For lunch, have it at 12:00 instead of 12:30.

And if dinner is at 6:00, have it at 5:15 instead.

This might sound like kind of a pain and maybe a little crazy, but it has been a tried-and-true trick for me for years. By following this step, your kids’ bodies will be a little bit more adjusted by the time the clocks actually spring forward.

Set your clocks to the “spring forward” time during dinner

At this point, your kids are usually starting to adjust to the new schedule anyway, so it is time to make it official. Since your kids will be distracted while eating, it is a good chance to change the clocks to the new, “spring forward” time. Then, when it comes time for bed, the clocks will show the usual bedtime. I have used this trick multiple times when I just need some down time (wink wink!), and it never fails.

Speaking of spring forward and clocks, this clock right here has been a lifesaver for us in keeping our little kids in bed until it’s time to get up.

Avoid electronics the night of the time change

Any phones and electronics will still have the correct time, even as the clocks in your house have already been switched (since you’re manually switching any that you can early). Keep the electronics away from your kids to avoid confusion.

And, so your cover isn’t blown.

spring forward time change

Go to bed early yourself that night so you don’t lose one hour of sleep

Make sure to take into account that you’ll be getting an hour less of sleep if you go to bed at the same time. For this reason, you really should go to bed an hour earlier so you’re still getting the same amount of sleep.

As someone who treasures that time in my house when everyone else is in bed this is a huge sacrifice. However, having a shorter fuse the next day because I’ve gotten less sleep isn’t a pretty thing.

With Daylight Savings Time on the horizon, moms need some real tips and tricks for surviving, especially with young kids.

But, with these ideas, you’ll be armed and ready!


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