We are heading into another time change weekend, and these time changes can really mess us up! It’s a big adjustment for us adults, and it’s even more of an adjustment for our kids. And while the “fall back” time change does give us back an hour, little children don’t care about that. Their built-in systems will wake them up earlier than we would like. Then those same systems will shut them down much earlier than what we are used to. Is there any way to make this transition easier? Let’s look at a few ways to survive the time change with little ones.
Adjustments are never easy for our kids, but we can think through some ways to make it easier both for them and for us.
Make it fun
Every difficult activity is made easier if we can find a way to have fun with it. Work is more fun if we can make it into a game, right? In the same way, let’s prepare for this time change with some fun. Maybe that would be simply talking it up and making it a big deal, like something to celebrate or something crazy to experience together. Show your kids how you change the clock, and add a silly countdown to make it fun. Add in some learning about clocks and times, or about numbers. You could learn some number signs too! Here’s a quick video showing you how to sign the numbers 1-20.
Instead of dealing with the dramatic one-hour adjustment, consider starting the transition several days ahead of time. We can make smaller, 15-minute adjustments over a few days to gradually change our kids’ schedules. For example, move your child’s naptime and bedtime by only 15 minutes each day. When the time change happens, their systems will have started to adjust. This can make the transition easier and help you survive the time change.
Stick with your routines
Routines help us with everyday life, but they also help us tremendously in times of transition. When things are changing, it helps children to have the stability of their normal routines. Even if we’re all tired and dealing with the time change adjustment, let’s have our kids stick with their basic routines. The familiar expectations will help them, and therefore, help you to survive the time change.
Plan an easy day
Let’s try to keep our schedules free during the time change weekend, especially that day after the time change. We tend to just keep going and to stay busy, and then we’re disappointed and frustrated when our kids’ cannot handle it. So let’s free up our schedules for that day, knowing that our kids will have enough to deal with. This takes pressure off of everyone in your family and frees you up to be flexible after the time change. It doesn’t mean that you can’t go anywhere or do anything. Just keep it less busy and don’t expect to have a really full day.
And when your kids are nearing melt-down levels and you need a good distraction, choose screen time that will both entertain and teach them. My Signing Time is filled with positive shows that get your kids singing, moving, and learning. With a digital subscription, you can access My Signing Time from any device. If you don’t have a subscription, you can try one out for free with a 14-day free trial!
Plan ahead for your own responses
Some of our kids will do well with these adjustments, and some may not. No matter how much preparation we do ahead of time, the time change is still a lot to handle. When my kids were little, the “fall-back” time change was a much longer adjustment for us than the “spring-ahead” time change was. This never made sense to me, but it was what we had to deal with. The best way to survive the time change is to plan ahead for your own attitudes.
When we take some time to recognize that the next few days will be difficult, we help ourselves to be ready for what’s ahead. We become more aware of our own responses to our kids, and we become more understanding of their difficulties. So let’s head into this weekend with positive attitudes that are ready to show grace when things get hard. And let’s show grace to ourselves too. We’re going to be adjusting, and we may mess up. No matter how things go during this weekend of time change, let’s be willing to keep trying to move forward in a positive way. This attitude will help you to survive the time change.
So here we go into our time change weekend! What will you do to survive the time change?