Ask any parent and he or she will tell you that children + the whole “Spring Ahead, Fall Back” deal with changing clocks is a surefire way to necessitate a stiff drink.
Add travel into the mix and the ensuing reality can be downright hell on Earth.
For some reason, we always seem to travel on those weekends when we switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time and back again. This means that at least twice a year Powerwoman and I find ourselves in the unenviable situation of entertaining our children at 4 a.m. on a random Sunday in a place that’s not our home.
It happened again today.
Thankfully, instead of being in a hotel (where we’ve spent most of these weekends), we were staying with good friends (and their kids) south of San Francisco. This means we didn’t have to worry about our kids waking up other guests at the crack of dawn. Because they weren’t the only kids awake.
Our primary strategy this morning—and on most time-change mornings—was simple: To keep them busy.
This meant a steady stream of Barbies, memory games, coloring books, sticker books, stories, and more. It also meant a few sing-alongs, especially to some tracks from the new Taylor Swift album. FWIW, we never enlisted the help of a television or iPad.
Our secondary strategy was to work together.
Powerwoman and I traded “shifts” of 30 minutes apiece as the parent chaperone. When our friends woke up (around 5:30 a.m.), we worked them into the mix as well. (I admit, I passed out around 9 a.m. in mid-sentence. Thankfully our hosts are REALLY good friends who won’t judge me and likely will invite us back.)
We had other goals of the morning, including to stay patient when the kids didn’t listen, to get the children to eat their breakfasts, and to stop our two kids from hurting each other (which was inevitable).
Yes, the morning seemingly was interminable. And, yes, we administered three time-outs. Ultimately, however, we survived. Later in the day, we remembered one of the few positives of the day we change clocks BACK in fall: The kids were ready for bed by 6:30 p.m.
Parenting is all about small victories, right? We’ll take those wins wherever and whenever we can.
What are some of your strategies for helping kids get through seasonal clock changes?