I’m making dinner and suddenly the baby starts screaming in the pack-n-play. I run in to see what’s wrong and find my 2-year-old hitting him over the head with her stuffed Olaf. Next, I have to put her in time-out and right after I’m making my way back to the stove, my 6-year-old is yelling up the steps asking if his video game time is up yet because this level doesn’t have a save point (for the umpteenth time). After saying “No,” again, I rush back to the kitchen to find the pot of mac-n-cheese overflowing on the burner. Then, I’m cleaning it up before the milky mixture begins ruining the glass top. A few minutes later, I remember I had put the toddler in time-out… How do you save your sanity?
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Does this scenario sound familiar? For a while, this was a dinner time staple in my house. I needed a solution and began brainstorming ideas (usually right after this daily 5’o’clock reminder). These kids’ timers are the perfect solution for many of the stresses of parenting. You, too, can use this $3 DIY to save your sanity.
WARNING: Be sure that they do not cover the display or buttons (younger children may need more active help with this step).
Once they are decorated, it is time to put them to work! Here are some tips for how these timers can save your sanity. What other ways do you plan to use your timers? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
Video Game Timer
This one is self-explanatory. In our house, our children are limited to 1 hour of video game play a day.
Again, this is pretty self-explanatory. For our time-outs, the children get one minute for each year of age. The 2 yo gets a 2 minute time-out and the 6 yo gets a 6 minute time-out.
I love this game! It is great for children and adults alike! Set your time for 5 minutes and race around to clean up. This works best if you give each person a room and make it a competition to see who can get the most cleaned up in their 5 minute limit.
If your kids love bath time like mine do, this is excellent. Set the timer for whatever predetermined limit you have allocated for their bath. When the timer goes off, they will know it is time to get out of the tub. (They may still need some coaxing the first few times, but it will become easier if you are persistent.)
This one is another one of my favorites. Let’s face it, sometimes as parents we need a break to replenish ourselves, calm our tempers, or just some quiet. Set the timer (I typically do 10-20 minutes) and let the children know that they cannot ask you anything or request anything of you until the timer goes off. Again, it will take a few times before it becomes an accepted routine but it will begin working better and better.
Ready to Leave Game
With three small children, it is next to impossible to get out of the house on time. I use this game to have the kids ready to go (closer) to on time. I recommend giving them 5 minutes on the timers. In this time, the kids are to rush and get their shoes, coats, and anything else needed together (or on, depending on their age) and sitting on the couch. This gets them all in one place and ready prior to needing to walk out the door.
This one is important for teaching our faith-based belief in patience. However, even if you are not religious, I think we all could stand to learn a little more patience. We will set the timers for 5-10 minutes and the children must sit quietly and patiently until they go off. This is especially helpful if they are getting too wound up and need to simmer down. It is important not to associate this as a punishment. It is character building, so the location should be somewhere comfortable and quiet. During this time, they are allowed to enjoy quiet activities like reading or puzzles. This is also quite useful when on a semi-long car ride or other “boring” activity for kids.