Forgive me as this is going to be a really short post, but I wanted to share something which is working for us at the moment. Coming up to three (and being a boy) Monkey has issues transitioning from one activity to another. Or more specifically stopping something he wants to do, to do something he doesn’t such as going to bed or getting his shoes on.

One of my NCT mums Β is a reception teacher and ever since her little boy was born she would use hand gestures to signal the end of one thing and the start of another, preparing her little boy for the inevitable. This has got me thinking over recent months and ultimately lead me to start to use egg timers. I appreciate this is not a new idea but it is one which is working for us at the moment which is why I thought I would share it.

Using Egg Timers to help Transition Preschoolers.jpg

Currently, we use two different timers, a 3 minute one for when he has been put on the naughty step I will come back to this, and a 10 minute one. I brought them from eBay and there are lots of different options for times so you can get something which fits in with what you are trying to achieve. They are also reasonably robust, bright attractive colours and large 16cm high – after all its his egg timer not mine.

We use the 10 minute one when we are wanting to stop one thing and start another or for other time related conversations such as last 10 minutes before bed or you can get down from the table once the egg timer has finished… It definitely seems to lead to less transition problems and tantrums, although initially he thought it would be okay just to turn it round again he’s got the hang of it now. I am genuinely surprised by the difference it seems to make for us.

As far as the 3 minute one goes Monkey is very tenacious, head strong and stubborn, something which I don’t want to squash out of him, but at the same time parent effectively. Generally the naughty step is the last resort in our house and we have historically struggled to keep him on it. Believe me I tried all the suggestions Super Nanny has and more. However using the egg timer has meant he stays on the step as he knows he will not be allowed off until it finishes. I think it works for him because its visual and he can see how long he has left to wait, it also removes the I’m going to be left here forever feeling!

They can be used for other activities as well, 2 minutes for cleaning teeth, 45 minutes for watching TV, 5 minutes for sharing toys and taking turns.. the list is endless. Once Monkey can tell the time then they maybe less useful – although I can see us using the 3 minute one for some time yet…


what katy said


  1. This is a great idea! I’ve always found that my children need to know in advance when they have to do things. Even now with our 12 year old I have to set boundaries and tell him what time he needs to get off his PS4 to do his homework, if I don’t give him a set time and just tell him to get off now, all hell breaks loose. I wish I had thought of this when they were younger!

  2. I love the idea of using an egg timer – the girls have generally been quite receptive to this elsewhere and maybe I should give it a try at home too. Glad it is working well for Monkey πŸ™‚

    • Glad to hear it works for them outside of the home, I always feel a bit nervous writing about something thats working for us, as it may not work for others! Please let me know how you get on x

  3. Great idea! I love reading advice like this. My little one is still too young but I’ll definitely keep it in mind for the next few years to come x

  4. Becky, Cuddle Fairy Reply

    That’s a great idea. I set my stove timer for the boys, it definitely helps. I’d say seeing the sand moving through gives a better sense of time and how much time is left. #KidsCorner x

    • OOo let me know how you get on if you decide to do it. I have a better ones for babies which I will post shortly xx

  5. this is a really good idea and i could see that is would work really well for dinner times actually my girls have like 3 mouthfuls and jump down from the table if we had a timer there would probably be alot more chance of them eating more! great tip thanks for sharing #kidscorner

  6. Katy (What Katy Said) Reply

    Do you know, I have always used them in class but never thought to have them at home! Great idea! Thank you for sharing in #KidsCorner x

  7. Jemma Chambers (@LivingLifeNottm) Reply

    Heading over to eBay to invest – definitely something we need over here. Thanks for sharing, great tips… #babybrainmonday

  8. Love this idea! I have a feeling we’ll be using the naughty step once he is old enough to understand what is going on! When did you start that? I’m tempted to buy some now!! Love the colours too! Thank you for linking up to #babybrainmonday x

    • From 2ish but my friend was doing her hand movements from 6 months, I think you could do it now when moving between activities/leaving the house etc the sooner you set the expectation he now needs to do something else the better I guess? Thank you for hosting xx

    • We really missed them while we were away – mental note must remember to pack next time! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  9. Great idea to use egg timers, such a simple idea yet I’d say it really works – right, off to Amazon I go again!

  10. Pingback: Being a Big Brother – 12 weeks in | Mudpie Fridays

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.