Today: The Visual Timer
Transitions can make it look like my child is about to singlehandedly bring on the apocalypse. We learned this at a very young age - we learned it trying to leave public places, trying to come inside, and finishing, well, anything really. We also learned that developmentally, kids can't really understand the passage of time. When he was just two years old a therapist put us onto this visual timer. It's old school, you just wind it up to the amount of time you want to pass and kids can watch the red area shrink in size until it's gone and the clock beeps. It's AMAZING for helping him wait for something, for letting him know when we are going to change activities or move upstairs for bedtime. It also helps us be consistent as parents in following through. Rather than saying "five more minutes" roughly 20 times and escalating into a frustrated rage over why our kids don't understand us, we set it and stick to it.
Which is good for everyone, really.
Recently, bedtimes have gotten really hard again. We started using this timer to prevent the endless stalling and "one mores" that can leave a parent completely frazzled at a time of day when we often don't have much physical or emotional energy left. We set the timer and do all the things we love - read books, pray, sing, snuggle...but when that timer goes off, that's it. Bedtime is done. Kiss, hug and out the door. It hasn't solved everything, but it helps him know there is a limit and an end to that time together. (He is a MASTER staller. I promise we aren't cruel. But bedtime HAS to have an end or it gets ugly.)
Incidentally, if you need a laugh about putting little kids to bed, here's Jim Gaffigan. You're welcome.
The timer here is the one we have. It's lasted 3 years in a house where we play rough. It's called the Time Timer and I can't recommend it highly enough.
Stay tuned over the next week for more Sanity Savers.
|The Time Timer|