I love my Big Timer. Its uses go beyond the typical timeout session or cooking project. Our timer is a motivator, a time-saver, and a non-negotiator. I've decided it's a device I simply can't live without! I also have a Timex digital watch with a timer...it's great, too!
Here are a few ways we use the timer around here:
- Bathroom Monitor: I've mentioned our son's propensity to linger in the bathroom, water running, for upwards of an hour. To curtail these little bathroom binges, I brought the timer into the bathroom, set it for 5 minutes, and invited him to "race the timer!" He loves a challenge, so this worked great. Some kids may need additional incentive to beat the clock (M&Ms, stickers, extra time at the park) or consequences (timeout, lose some playtime, do a job - the bathroom usually needs straightening after they've been in there too long, so let them clean it up!) A timer can also help during teeth-brushing. I'm considering getting a timer dedicated to the kids' bathroom!
- Cleanup Countdown: The kids love racing the timer during cleanup. I set the timer for 3 minutes and we race around, putting things away and picking up trash. If they are good workers, at the end of 3 minutes they earn one M&M and we set the timer again. Even our 2-year-old loves this method of cleaning!
- Centertime Sentry: I often set the timer during playtime for 15-20 minutes. At the end of that time, the kids clean up their area and find something else to do. If they're really playing nicely and want more time, I give it to them, but more often than not, they're ready to try something new when the timer rings. It's really just a reminder to clean up their mess before moving on.
- Quiet Time: I set my digital timer for 55 minutes every day for our 5-year-old's quiet time. He doesn't take a regular nap anymore, but we all need a break from each other after lunch and storytime. Our 2-year-old naps, I like to put my feet up and read or sometimes nap, and our 5-year-old is required to lay still and quiet until his timer beeps. He usually prepares a huge stack of books for his quiet time, but only gets about halfway through them before he's snoozing! If he's still awake when the timer beeps, he can get up and play quietly.
- Computer Timer: For those of you with kids old enough to play on the computer or video gaming systems, the timer can help you set limits for your child and stick to them.
- Potty Training Timer: I love my Timex digital watch. It reminds me to get my toddler to the bathroom. I call it my "potty watch." I'm very forgetful and it's so easy to simply forget that my toddler is wearing underwear and needs to go potty. While they're learning, they don't always identify their urge to go, so getting them to sit on the potty every 25 minutes or so can help in the early stages of potty training. This is another good use for a bathroom timer, especially for the resistant toddler: set it for 2 minutes. If she hasn't done anything after 2 minutes, but you know it should be about time for her to go, let her try again in 10-15 minutes.
Any other great uses for your timer?