Inside: Tips for parents to survive daylight savings with young kids. Spoiler Alert: It won’t be pretty, but you can do this.
As Daylight Savings approaches, I have to admit something that might get me kicked out of the sisterhood of motherhood…
I don’t drink coffee.
Sometimes I even question it myself. Like, do I sleepwalk every night and make myself a cup of coffee? Do I black out every time I swing through the Starbucks drive-through? I must right?
But the fact of the matter is I just don’t like the taste so I never hopped aboard the coffee train. I’m completely fine with that, with the notable exception of one day each year since having children – Fall Daylight Savings. The day caffeine isn’t just a nice to have, but a straight-up necessity because kids do not appreciate the beauty that is “fall back.”
So how do you survive Daylight Savings with young kids? Especially if you’re not a coffee drinker? I’ve got you covered.
But first, let’s break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of parenting during Daylight Savings.
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Daylight Savings with Young Kids: The Good
The November daylight savings time used to be “the good one.” We fall back, you get an extra hour of sleep. Amazing!
However, now the good daylight savings time now is the one in the spring when you lose an hour.
That first Daylight Savings morning in March feels pretty normal even though it’s technically an hour later. Then the NEXT morning is magic because the kids haven’t settled into the new time yet and your house is quiet at 7am.
It’s so beautiful I could cry.
Are nap schedules a little off? Sure. Is getting them to bed on time a little challenging? Yes. But that morning hour… worth it.
Daylight Savings with Young Kids: The Bad
Now the bad Daylight Savings. That one in the fall that will someday be reclaimed, but not today.
I’ve tried explaining the concept of “falling back” to my children. However, the lesson does not seem to stick. Especially at 4am when they are under the impression everyone should be getting up to make breakfast.
Then the battle of Daylight Savings wills drags on for the entire day because you are futilely trying to adjust your babies/toddlers/preschoolers to the new time and they are furious that no one is making mac and cheese right now. And that you are making them take a nap.
Daylight Savings with Young Kids: The Ugly
The Daylight Savings ugly?
Well, that’s just the black circles under my eyes that appear on Monday morning due to exhaustion to cried off mascara.
Daylight Savings: Survival
The best way to survive Daylight Savings with young kids is to move to Arizona.
However, if you can’t do that. Try one of these strategies. Or really, layer them one upon the other for maximum effectiveness.
Screen time, screen time, screen time, screeeeeeeen time.
We’re going to start strong the night before daylight savings. Experts say that you should keep your kids up a little later the night before we “fall back” so that they will sleep a little longer in the morning.
Because that’s a thing.
But you can try it, and maybe have a movie night. Perhaps a classic Disney movie that doesn’t include too much fighting or too much patriarchy.
Don’t hold your breath for a movie suggestion, I love me some Disney but I’ve found that if the girl isn’t waiting on a man then at least one person is wielding a sword and I just don’t know what to do about all that.
But I digress.
Oh and by the way, this movie night plan won’t actually work. It’s a nice idea though.
Oh, you thought I was going to have another suggestion? Not yet. You’re going to be too tired for another suggestion and so am I. It’s fine…
Find something educational on the tube for the morning. May I suggest Dino Dana on Amazon Prime? By noon your kids will know all of the dinosaurs and have a leg up on their college applications.
You’ve been up since 4am, this is literally the best you can do.
Do you still have some Halloween candy left? That’s your secret weapon today.
Kids won’t take a nap? I’m taking away your candy. Kids won’t stop jumping on your face at 4am? I’m taking away your candy. Everyone is whining because everyone is tired and confused? I’m dropping this candy off at the dentist’s office in exchange for a new toothbrush. And I’m asking for the boring gray one, you aren’t even getting Micky Mouse.
Sometimes you need to play hardball.
Also, feel free to sneak eat that candy today. If you aren’t a coffee drinker you might need the sugar boost.
You know that toy that plays the “Hot Dog” song over and over and over again? How about that board game that everyone wants to play but it actually makes everyone cry? The glitter/kinetic sand/”washable” markers?
Your kids have plenty of other things to do in your house. I’m quite sure of it. You need to make Daylight Savings easier on your poor tired mind. Don’t feel guilty about it. Your kids will be fine, and you won’t need to refill your migraine medication.
Sometimes you just have to say “meh” because you are so tired you literally can’t even.
Did you need to give into demands for pancakes at 5:35am to save your sanity? Fine.
Is your house looking like it was trashed by a 80’s rock band? Fine.
Is your youngest currently walking around in underwear and snow boots muttering “Whatcha talkin’ bout, Willis?” It’s fine…
Apathy is your friend when surviving Daylight Savings with young kids. Lean into it.
If you have a partner at home, then you have two choices. You can 1) pick a major fight tonight to bait him or her into saying something kind of mean in order to guilt him or her into getting up with the kids tomorrow or 2) you can work together.
Option 2 is better in the long term, and the short term honestly. If you both get up with the kids in the wee hours of the morning then at least you have each other. Then when one parent is staring vacantly off into the distance because #iamsotired, the other parent can find some energy reserves to look for the remote.
Just make sure you switch off staring and engaging evenly or things will get dicey.
You made it through Daylight Savings Day 1. What a champion! Break out the big glass and the heavy pour.
Ideally, today will be the worst of the days this week. I can’t promise that, but based on a few years of experience I have found it does get slightly better each day until things eventually even out around Christmas. So cheers to that!
Now you should be prepared for the next 36 hours of surviving Daylight Savings with young kids. Hang in there, it’s going to be okay.
And just think, only 6 more months until the good Daylight Savings. That’s nothing.