The Power of the Kitchen Timer to Ease Transitions (Or Something Like That!)

There is something almost magical about the oven timer at our house. It has authority that I, as the mother, apparently do not possess. We use the timer for almost everything around here. It helps transitions go much more smoothly with Big Sister, who is 3. We set it nearly every night to let her know when it is time to go upstairs to begin her bedtime routine. Sometimes we set it to let her know when we need to leave to go somewhere. Occasionally, I'll even set it to get her to stop repeatedly asking the same question. That scenario goes something like this...

Big Sister: (7:00 a.m.) “Will you please call Sally and see if she can play?”

Me: “No, it is too early.”

Big Sister: (7:01 a.m.) “Will you please call Sally and see if she can play?”

Me: “No, it is still too early.”

Big Sister: (7:03 a.m.) “Will you please call Sally and see if she can play?”

Me: (Remembering the magical timer) “No, I can't call her yet. I will set the timer and when the timer goes off, we can call Sally.”

Big Sister: “Okay.” She then usually scurries off to play.

At this point, I set the timer, and all is well until she returns three seconds later to begin a round of questioning about a snack, or if she can play with Play-Doh, or some similar topic. Seriously, though, the timer almost always works. And, don't tell, but I've been known to pretend to set it a time or two as well. This generally happens at nap time when Big Sister requests I set the timer to know when she can wake up. Um, yeah, I certainly don't put a limit on small children sleeping around here, so only the pretend timer works in that situation.

I'm certainly not the first mom to come up with this wonderful use for the timer and I won't be the last. I just know it has helped us immensely and I certainly wish I'd had the idea sooner. It most definitely works for me.
To find more ideas, (likely more original than this one) head on over to Rocks In My Dryer!


Amanda said...

I love the timer. I've sortof slacked in using in this method, but you have given me motivation to start it back up.

My use of the timer is I will go into the kitchen set it for 15 minutes and start cleaning - and put all of my focus on cleaning during that 15 minutes. As soon as the timer goes off I drop what I'm doing restart it and go to the living room for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off it gets set for 15 minutes of break (computer time) It will amaze you what you can get done in 15 minutes... so just remember before you go to tackle a job set the timer for 15 minutes and you'll never get discouraged again :)

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home said...

I totally do this too! It works wonders with my 3 year old, who has no concept of 5 minutes, let alone an hour or two!

We use it for how much longer she can play, how soon naptime is, how much longer she has to finish eating her meal, how long until we are going out, how long she has to help me clean up, etc. I love it!