A Mom's Brilliant Summer Clock Hack Helps Keep Kids On A Schedule
Get relief from the never-ending "Mom, I'm bored!" comments.
Summer break is around the corner. Parents all over the country are now prepping for the unstructured free-for-all that is summer break with kids — but what if it didn’t have to be this way? Kids thrive on schedules and structure, so why should that all go out the window just because they’re not in school for a few months?
One mom on TikTok is going viral after sharing her summer clock hack to help her kids maintain structure, practice responsibility, and beat the inevitable summer boredom blues.
McKinnley Matson posted the video to her account @mdoesdiy where has gained nearly half a million views in less than 24 hours.
“With just a few weeks left until school is out for the summer, I am re-sharing my viral clock hack to help keep you sane this summer,” Matson begins.
“Now, before you come after me in the comments, this is not designed to be a strict schedule. If I'm being honest, my kids really only stick to this sometime, but it gives them a healthy level of responsibility and independence over their days as well as options when they can't think of what to do.”
Matson also says the summer clock helps relieve that ever-annoying, “Mom, I’m bored” whine that eventually happens at some point during the summer.
She explains that the clock helps break down a kid’s day into “manageable sections to help establish routines and give younger kids a visual to know what time it is.”
So when kids start asking when lunch is coming, they can look to their clock for guidance.
“It's flexible. It's customizable to what works well for you and your family, and it gives kids a reliable framework to guide their days,” Matson continued.
The clock allows for the familiarity and comfort of a schedule but also allows for flexibility that should come with summertime.
“It's not as rigid or as structured as school, but it gives your kids enough to know what to expect, and they really need that,” she continued.
Matson first went viral for the clock hack last summer in a video that gained her over 4 million views.
In the original clip, Matson shows that with a cheap wall clock from Walmart and some simple DIY, the summer clock is the perfect way to help her kids stay on a schedule during the summer while she works from home.
After creating a schedule that worked for the family and printing it in a circular shape, Matson removed the back of the clock and used the faceplate as a guide to ensure the schedule was centered.
“I found the top of the clock and lined it up with what was noon on my schedule,” Matson explained.
She then reassembled the rest of the clock, including its hands and the battery, before gluing a magnet to the back of it that would allow the clock to hang on the refrigerator.
“For my workin' mommas feeling anxious about juggling kids during the summer,” read the caption of her video. “We've got this!”
In her updated video, she thanked parents for all the great additions and moderations to the clock that worked for their families, like using pictures to represent the schedule instead of words for those kids are still learning to read, removing the minute and second hand to lessen confusion, and making separate clocks for each kid depending on their age and routine.
Mollie Grow, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, says summer structure is critical for kids’ growth and development.
“Summer schedule may sound like an oxymoron, but kids need direction and routine,” Grow said.
“Some children can experience a loss of cognitive ability during summer break, according to some studies. By encouraging mental stimulation throughout summer, parents can help children maintain math, reading and spelling skills.”
Grow also suggests promoting daily reading or math problems, select educational television programs and games and plan educational “field trips” with the family, like nature walks or trips to museums.