10 Ways to Use a Timer With Kids
Sometimes, a mom needs a few tools in her arsenal. These toys may include a hidden stash of candy to halt a breakdown when you need to leave the house, or the silliest song to break up the monotony of a long drive. It could be the CD that lulls your kid to sleep every time, or perhaps its the nightlight they won’t sleep with, no matter where you go. Today, I want to talk about a tool that’s a great kid motivator: the timer!
10 Ways to Use a Timer With Kids:
1. Exercise Time! Set the timer for one or two minutes and see how many times they can run laps around your house, do a set of jumping jacks, or hop on foot. Do it right along with them and call it your exercise for the day, too!
2. Play With Mommy Time. Use the timer to set clear expectations. Dreading another round of Barbies or trucks, but feel guilty for putting your tot off constantly? Set a timer and let them know exactly how many minutes until Mommy is going back to her important stuff. (Facebook, anyone?) This will keep you from wandering off after 3.4 seconds into the ‘game.’
3. Break down chores. Use the timer to break down a large task into manageable pieces. If your kids’ friends left the playroom trashed on the last play date, don’t demand your child clean it all right this second. Tell them they just need to clean for ____ minutes, then you’ll jump in and help with the rest.
4. Race It! Set a timer and see how much cleaning you can do before the buzzer rings! Your kids will be amazed at how much they are able to do while racing against the clock.
5. Time out. What would time out be without a timer? A rule of thumb is to put your child in time out for one minute for year they are old. My two year old is in time out for two minutes, my four year old gets four minutes but I add a minute every time she screams while in her room.
6. Beep to Go! If you know your three year old will freak when its time to be torn from the beloved TV, let him know you’re setting a timer until its time to get ready. When the timer beeps, the TV goes off (or the toy dinosaurs get put away), and its time to go! (To get your kid to school on time with a timer, check out this post!)
7. Time for a Snack. If your child is the kind that won’t stop asking for munchies, set a timer during snack time to let them know when the next snack or meal will be.
8. Time to Go Potty! Potty training and timers can be a mom’s best friend. When you have other things to juggle (babies, older kids, pets, making dinner, etc.), it can be hard to remember when it’s time to take your toddler to the potty. Little tots are still learning to depend on their own body signals, so set a timer and stick to it. If your toddler doesn’t ‘go?’ Add another five minutes and try again.
9. Time for… Quiet Time! Is it just me, or does quiet time in my house equate to me closing my eyes for five minutes and my children doing something destructive? Start the timer and load them up with books. Older children should be able to start out at about ten minutes of quiet time and go up as they get used to the concept, and younger children can start anywhere from 2-5 minutes. A two minutes break doesn’t seem helpful to you, but you can gradually increase it. Just make sure your child is safe from hazards and markers! This is one we are just starting to work on at my house. :/
10. Time to Leave Mom Alone. :) Okay, seriously. Sometimes we don’t need to separate everyone and tell them to be quiet, we just want the kids to play nicely somewhere else for a few minutes. Keep your door open and let them know you’re listening (Mom is always listening!!), but ask them not to come back until the timer rings. Use your judgement on setting the timer. If your kids play well together, you may get a good twenty to thirty minutes alone, especially if the TV is on! If your kids are younger or are prone to bickering, you can make a quick phone call or check your email. With this one, I like to ‘reward’ (aka bribe) my kids. If they leave me alone, they get a treat, or some fun Play with Mom time!
How do you use a timer in your home?