Sometimes getting us Kids to do chores or get our homework done can be a challenging task for you adults. Timers are an excellent way to motivate us to complete tasks and follow directions.
Research and reputable resources consistently indicate the benefits of using timers with children
I love timers it makes me get my work finished fast when I don’t really want to do it and mummy will say oh well do 10 minutes and its AMAZING what I can get done when up against the timer!
Here below is our Article giving the ways for you to use timers with kids to increase cooperation, and task completion, etc.
Recommendations for Timer Use!
Some children have difficulty working for long periods of time without a break. They may get frustrated or mentally drained. I have seen children start to look around, talk, and play with items during prolonged periods of homework or classwork. This often leads to an adult telling them to get back to work before they are mentally ready. Sometimes the child becomes resistant and refuses to get back to work. Other times they will make statements such as “I am too tired.” “It is too hard.” “I am bored.” or “I don’t care about this.” If they do get back to work, they may work slowly, rush through the assignment, or not put forth their best effort.
So how can timers help?
- Tell your child that he/she needs to complete a certain amount of work and allow them to work towards a break.
- OR tell your child they only have to work for say 10 minutes and then they can have a break until 10 minutes more.
For example, if your child is given 20 maths problems for homework, you can say, “Do the first ten problems and then take a five minute break to do something of your choice. Then do the next ten problems.” During the break, set the timer for five minutes and make sure the child can see it so they know exactly how much time they have left. OR Say Spend 10 minutes on the task and then have a break then spend another 10!
This is a great method for encouraging work completion because children like to work towards something fun. Many children also need a mental break and will work more effectively when they have the opportunity to take one. Using a timer takes the ownership away from the parent or teacher. The adult is not arbitrarily telling the child that the break is over. The timer dictates the length of the work or the break. This leads to less resistance from the child.
If you are doing an open ended activity, such as studying or practicing an academic skill, try setting the timer for 10 minutes and saying something like “we will practice for ten minutes, take a five minute break to do something of your choice, and practice for another 10 minutes.” In this case you would use the timer to let the child know how long the practice/study session will last and how long the break will last. Some children need suggestions for the break (e.g., when you take your break do you want to draw or play a game on the computer). If you are offering suggestions, pick things that you know your child would want to work towards. You can adapt the number of minutes as some children can work for longer periods, some need to work for shorter periods, and some benefit from longer or shorter breaks. Work with your child/student to see how much time works best for him/her.