How a timer helps simplify my day
I use a timer often throughout my day. I didn’t know how much I depended on it until my timer stopped working properly. I use it throughout our homeschool day and generally in my parenting. Here are some ways I use a timer to help simplify our day.
When the kids have a major issue sharing a toy, setting a timer for 5 or 10 minutes per turn is one of the simplest ways to solve the problem. We don’t do this super often, but it certainly comes in handy at times.
Helping them not to rush
There are certain subjects my kids tend to rush through — handwriting and piano practice are the most common. I make the kids do their work until the timer beeps. There is no incentive to rush when you need to write for 7 minutes.
To make this work well, make sure you set the timer for a proper amount of time. My 5-year-old needs 8–10 minutes at a time to practice the piano. Any longer and he starts to get frustrated. When he needs more practice, I have him practice 2 different times throughout the day.
Time-out and cooling down
I am not a huge time-out fan but I use it when my toddler hits or intentionally hurts someone. I sit him in his high chair and set the timer for 2 minutes. Without the timer, I know I would get distracted and who knows how long he would end up sitting there.
If I see one of the older kids on the verge of losing their temper or just need a break, I ask them to go cool down until they feel like they can rejoin the group. This usually means hanging out in their room or our cool-down area. Normally, they go willingly and come back a few minutes later. If they don’t choose to go calm down on their own, I set a timer and enforce the time alone.
What I like about setting a timer in these types of situations is that it takes me out of the equation. Both the kids and I need this to diffuse any strong emotions.
Mom’s time alone
There are days when I need a 5- or 10-minute break. If I know I am on the verge of losing my sanity, I set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and let the kids know I am taking a cool-down break. Honestly, I tend to forget about this and should really use it more often because it works really well.