Using an Egg Timer to help Transition for Preschoolers
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 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.
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…