Sunday, September 16, 2012

{Two More Minutes}

We've adopted a new strategy in the Lyle household and if you have seen me in the last month, its likely you have heard me raving about our Best Parenting Tool EVER.
Also, it's our only Parenting Tool I can think of.
It's called the Time Timer.
It is technically for toddlers to help them understand the concept of time (time out for 2 minutes, we'll go to the park in 20 minutes, etc.) and when I bought it, that's what I thought I would use it for.
But then I realized that while Blake has no idea of the concept of 1 minute vs. 30 minutes, the older boys probably didn't either. Also, as they get older, I realize that it's just common courtesy to give them upfront expectations regarding the daily plans.
Think about it...even as adults we get annoyed if we are busy doing something and someone walks up and says "Stop what you are doing. Put on your shoes. We are leaving. NOW!"
The night before the first day of school this year, I had a light bulb moment and decided to use it for the bigger boys. Each morning, during the breakfast/cartoons/getting dressed routine, Jeff sets the timer for 45 Minutes.
If the kids are completely ready by the time the timer goes off (the red disappears), they earn their electronics privilege after school. Originally the plan was that they would lose their privileges if they were not finished in time, but Jeff came up with the brilliant idea to flip around the sentence and make it more about positive reinforcement instead of negative consequences. It's really the same thing, but it's all in the way you say the sentence.
Anyway, this has been a life changer in our house.
Before the Time Timer, you would hear Jeff and I barking out orders to Brush Your Teeth! Put Your Shoes On! from every room in the house. I'd say on an average morning, we'd say it around 1,897 times.
But Now!
Now we don't have to say anything except noting that the timer is starting.
It's so much better and happier in our house because of this one simple clock and incentive.
If I do happen to see that they are struggling staying focused, I just ask one of the boys to confirm how much time is left since I pretend that I am "racing the clock" as well.
So far, so good. We are at 100% success and they are both riding the bus to school now, meaning they are walking out the door about 40 minutes earlier than last year.
I highly recommend it.
Buy one here.