Whether it is to play instead of eating, watch TV a little more or avoid going to bed, all the reasons are good for your little one not to respect your instructions! We can give another "5 minutes" in front of the television, but the concept of time is not yet something well defined in their head.
This is probably the best time to add a timer to their routine. Many daycares already use this trick for playtime, so why not apply it at home? We tested it with our 3 year old and the success was remarkable!
In our case, we chose the timer "Time Timer PLUS". A timer designed for children with a very clear and intuitive interface for toddlers. It allows up to 60 minutes. It costs about $45 (available at Clément).
In just a few weeks, our little one learned to set by himself the period of time we allow him. For example, we say "10 minutes of television" and he turns the wheel to the allowed duration.
The timer has another wheel on the back to determine the sound level of the buzzer. This is very useful for setting the timer quiet when his baby brother sleeps in the next room.
When the timer rings (and often even before the end of the period), our little one already starts to put away his toys or plans turning off the television. When it rings, he says "TV over" and he presses the red button on the remote to turn off the TV. This is an incredible change from our non-timer experiments, where we were entitled to cries even after several "other 5 minutes" extensions. With the timer, our little anticipates even the end of the period and he already knows that he must finish his activity.
Of course, you must first take the time to explain to your child the operation of the timer and the reason for its use. This will require a few tries before having a conclusive result, but be patient!
Alternatively, you can use an application on your phone. However, the result is not as good as your child does not necessarily associate your phone only as a timer and it is preferable that your child can himself define the duration allowed. Your child will be happy to have this responsibility in hand!
Share with us your experience of using a timer with your child!
Une version française de ce billet est disponible : Nous avons testé la minuterie Time Timer PLUS : une astuce pour parents