11/02/2013 09:06 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Daylight Saving Time For Parents: Our Family's Checklist For Turning Back The Clocks

Before we had our sons, the extra hour every fall meant more time to work, explore New York or watch one more episode of our latest binge. Now, the end of daylight saving time represents waking up in the dark and adding 60 more minutes to the grouchiest part of our evening. Over the past three years, my husband and I have developed some tools to ease the transition:

1. Make a Routine
Invite your children to help change the clocks back as well as replace the batteries in the smoke alarms. The more they know in advance, the easier it is to understand what's happening when we're dragging them out of bed before the sun wakes up.

2. Change Now
Don't wait until Saturday night. Gradually start reeling back the time so that everyone is already altering their schedules.

3. Celebrate
Make it a family tradition. The family can go star gazing, have a dance party or make a special once-a-year meal. The bonus: This holiday doesn't require any gifts, massive planning or crazy budget.

4. Make Music
My kids love to dance around the house. Select some songs which signal the beginning of bedtime, or whip out the Chicken Dance for an early wake-up call. (This one works at any time of year actually!)

5. Fall Switch
Make this the weekend for everyone to change their wardrobes. Bring out the sweaters and winter gear while putting away the t-shirts and shorts. Maybe everyone gets to buy one new piece of cold weather clothing up to five bucks... even the dog!