So you’re all excited about your brand-new Time Timer – and your child refuses to use it. Here are a few tips we’ve gathered from parents over the years:
1. Young Children: First, show your children the Time Timer animated video – which empathizes with the struggles they face at this age. Next, explain that the Timer is a reward for good behavior. When the child accomplishes a goal or behaves well, he or she will get X minutes of playtime with no interruptions from Mom or Dad.
As the child accomplishes harder goals or achieves behavior milestones, the playtime on the Time Timer will increase. Then, pretend you’re going to interrupt the child during playtime and say, “Oh! The Time Timer isn’t done. I’ll wait.” This solidifies the Timer’s benefit in the child’s mind. Now you can gradually move on and use it for time-outs, reading and even activities where you’re not sure how much time you need.
2. Elementary School -Age Children: At this age, many children live on a tight schedule, but they have almost no control over their time. The Time Timer can help change their concept of time. Choose a window – say, 20 or 30 minutes – and always set the Timer for that amount. Hang your Timer up on the wall or keep it on your phone where little hands can’t manipulate it. Then alternate 20 minutes of work with 20 minutes of fun. Instead of spending two straight hours on her homework, your child can break it up into equal manageable segments of time.
Adding fun to her schedule increases the likelihood that she’ll take to her Timer, and ensures that she’ll spend a healthy amount of time on her homework. Plus, using the same amount of time for all activities builds your child’s internal clock.
3. Children with Autism: A gradual introduction is often best for children on the Spectrum. Hang the Time Timer high on the wall. Then, during an important part of your child’s routine, say, “In X minutes, the red will be gone and we will [switch activities].” Your child may not care the first few times, but once it’s integrated into their routine, many children with Autism find true comfort in the Time Timer. Just make sure it’s up high where little hands can’t tear it.
How did you introduce the Time Timer to your child? Please let us know.