Do you have a timer at home? You’ll be amazed in the ways you can use it with your kids and to help run your day smoothly with routines, chores, and more!
The never ending abyss of indefinite time… that’s my theory. That’s why children will stall, balk, and delay things. Because they secretly fear this thing you want them to do (whatever it may be) will last for-ev-er.
It is why the timer is your new best inanimate friend.
It’s dependable. And it’s reliable.
It’s always on time.
In all seriousness, the timer is a great too to help garner cooperation from your children when you want them to do things they aren’t wild about.
It’s also a great way to help you do something quickly and with purpose so you don’t end up dividing your attention and getting nothing done.
Note: I don’t recommend the egg kitchen timers because they don’t always have a loud Ding which is what kids need to hear!
This timer beeps loudly and clearly.
Ways to use a timer at home with the kids relating to PLAY
- To time independent play time. If your child resists playing on their own (here’s how to teach them to play on their own) this will really help.
- Noisy time. If your kids are restless and have some energy to get out, turn it on and have a crazy noisy fun time for a while to get the wiggles out.
- For one-on-one time with each child. It’s important to spend time with children individually, and this is a great way to get it in. Start a game, read, or play pretend, and having a timer set will help your child make the most of your complete undivided attention.
- When there is one coveted toy and you want the kids to take turns playing with it.
- Outside play time can be timed as well.
- Hide and seek. Use the timer to signal it’s time to stay hidden or get found.
- Let the kids climb on their indoor toys to get some energy out!
Using a timer for chore-related events
- For your evening sweep.
- When the kids are occupied, and you need a 15 minute disco nap (also referred to as power nap).
- Set the timer to 10 or 15 minutes and have the kids come with you from room to room doing quick tidying and clean up jobs.
- After dinner cleanups can be made more fun with music on and a timer. It creates some urgency which makes little feet move faster.
- Creating time blocks. Sometimes kids don’t visualize or conceptualize time as easily as we do, of course, so having a time block set can help them learn to manage their time.
Routine related activities
- For bath play. I sometimes used to let the kids play in the bathtub with her toys even if it’s not actually “bath time.”
- Counting down something exciting they won’t want to end, like swimming for example, setting a timer will say “15 minutes left.“
- Couch time. This is from this book, and occurs when mom and dad sit on the couch together and talk. The goal of this is to show your children that you prioritize one another. During the timed event (10 or 15 minutes) the kids aren’t allowed to come and interrupt the adult conversation.
- Screen time limits.
- Taking turns for various things. A timer works well if the children’s sharing strategy involves one person having something then another getting it.
- Time to go in…. in the school morning, for example. Set the timer for the time when the kids need to get to the car. When they hear it ding, they can get moving.
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Calm down habits that work well timed
- Reading before bed. If your child is old enough to read before bed, you can do the bedtime routine, set the timer for the allotted period, allow them to read until it goes off, then lights out.
- When you “need a minute.” If you are feeling overwhelmed and weary, use the timer and tell the kids you are going to rest (read a book, etc.) for a set time and during that period they are not to disturb you.
- Creating anticipation. If you are about to do something fun like go to the park or set off for vacation, set the timer until the excitement happens.
- When the little ones are fighting or out of sorts, a timed “reset” works well. Everyone can sit with books, go to their rooms for a reset, or even do something to get that nervous energy out like push-ups, sit ups, or jumping jacks. (Yes, we do this.)
Basically, the sky’s the limit.