10 ways to use a Time Timer

I love Time Timers. If you are a parent or educator and you haven’t used a Time Timer before, you need to get your hands on one! These visual timers differ from your digital clocks and timers because they demonstrate visually that say, 5 minutes is half as long as 10 minutes. They’re not cluttered like clocks used for teaching the time to young children, and they don’t tick like the timer on your oven. The Time Timer is simple to use – as time lapses the red disc disappears actually showing that time is passing. You can also set it to ‘beep’ when the time is up if you want to. The Time Timers come in various colours and sizes (we stock them in our shop – give us a call or email, or drop in to buy one)

Here are just a few ways to use your Time Timer at home:

  1. Shorten endless mealtimes – if you have a littlie who takes their time to eat, get the Time Timer on and as they watch the red disc getting smaller and smaller they will guzzle up their dinner (hopefully!). Explain that once the timer is finished, the dinner plate goes away.
  2. Streamline morning routines – set the timer to your preferred time limit and explain that your kiddo needs to do X, Y and Z before the timer beeps in order to get a special treat in their lunchbox.
  3. Teach your child to wait – the visual timer can really help the decrease the anxiety for children anticipating a desirable activity or item. Set the timer, explain that they will get their TV show in 20 minutes and bob’s your uncle.
  4. Reduce homework horrors for older children – set the timer to the preferred time, let’s say one hour, and explain that it’s only okay to come out of the study once the red disc has disappeared/one hour is up.
  5. If your child has another non-preferred activity, like waiting in the car for his brother’s music lesson, set the timer for the 30 minute music lesson so that he can see time passing.
  6. Sort out sharing – if each child is to take a turn of something, set the timer for it and teach them to hand the item over (usually the TV remote!) once the disc disappears.

Did you know you can use your Time Timer for yourself as well?! Try using it in these instances:

  1. A quick workout – you need to keep working out until the red disc has disappeared.
  2. To manage your time at work – I use mine to keep my report writing within hour-long blocks. The visual really helps keep me on track.
  3. To limit house-cleaning – set the timer to the full hour and stop cleaning (woo hoo!) once the timer beeps/the red disc disappears.
  4. Keep showers short – use the timer in the bathroom to give a visual indication of how much time is left in the shower. Great for when we have water restrictions.

Stay tuned for more creative ways to use your Time Timer in the classroom and at work!

Written by Amanda Abel, Paediatric Psychologist and founder of Northern Centre for Child Development.

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