Timers are one of the BEST tools ever when working with kids. Timers and time limits are used all the time in the classroom when something undesirable needs to get done.
I will never forget the first time I used a timer in my classroom. I had just given them creative building time. Every feather, every bottle of glitter, every scrap of paper and wood, and every marker without a cap was on the floor. My anxiety level was high because I had 15 minutes to get the room clean, their homework written down and backpacks packed. I set the timer, and GO. Thirty-two little hands madly cleaning for two minutes…and the end result was a room that was cleaner than when we had walked in at 7:30 am. What were they trying to beat? The clock. Why? For glory. So simple. The timer became my go-to from that point on.
Some ways a timer may be helpful to you:
1. Trying to get your daughter to settle down and do her homework: set the timer for 5 more minutes of play. When the time’s up, it’s time to work. You can’t argue with the timer.
2. Trying to manage your 7 year old’s hatred of homework: have them work for 5 minutes at a time with a 1 minute break in between. That lap button has a purpose!
3. Trying to get your children to clean up the disaster they just created: set the timer and tell them you want to see how fast they can clean up the room. Use a grand alarm for this one.
4. Trying to get your kids to read independently: start off having them read for a short amount of time (using a timer, of course) and gradually increase the time as their endurance increases. Have them keep track of their changing time.
Timers provide focus and a non-negotiable limit. No one can argue that a timer wasn’t fair or correct.
Timers only work with children who have a sense of time, so this is most appropriate for children age 5 and up. Younger children will join in, but the 5+ crowd will be your best participant.
Next time you need something done, try a timer. 3-2-1-GO.
Timer also can help with library time!