When we are cooking or baking we all appreciate our handy little kitchen timer because it reminds us that a certain amount of time has passed. We may have lost track of time due to being busy in another household chore or even sitting down and playing with the kids.
Our children also lose track of time as they play or watch television or use the computer. They are especially good at living the moment and not worrying about the past or the future. Children give the present their entire attention as if nothing else existed. Whatever they are doing at any given moment is all that matters to them.
That is why a small child will resist when told abruptly that it is time to change activities. Their whole world is right in front of them and what they are doing is the most important thing. When he or she hears that it is time to go, they will sometimes pretend to not hear you or will even go hide from you.
This is where an ordinary kitchen timer can become your favorite household device!
Use a timer to help your son or daughter get prepared for bedtime. Set it for thirty minutes and tell your kids that when it rings it will be time to get their nightclothes on. This will begin the bedtime routine for them and then when it is time to actually get in bed, they will not be caught off guard. After setting it for another thirty minutes the ring will let them know that bed is the next part of the evening ritual.
During the day your timer may be used for “clean-up time”. Either it’s ring will signify that it is time to clean the bedroom or you can set it to ring after they have been cleaning it for a certain amount of time. This can actually make a hateful chore into a game.
For school aged children the timer is wonderful for the breakfast and getting dressed stages in the morning. A timer could prevent the dawdling over breakfast that some slow eaters use to put off getting dressed.
One of the best advantages of using a timer to guide your kids through their day is that it removes the argument from pointing to you as the bad guy. The timer is saying it is time to send the neighbor kids home, not you! Whatever works!