Set the timer to help antsy homeworkers stay in their seats

Sara shares yet another great use for the ubiquitous timer:

Now that we're back at school, I was reminded of this hack my mother used on me to teach me time management skills.  I was the type of kid that would get settled to do homework, and then have to pop up to sharpen a pencil, get a drink, etc.  Not very focused, in other words.  What my mother eventually did was set a minute timer next to me, and set it for a short period — probably 3-5 minutes.  I wasn't allowed up while the timer was going, but when it dinged I could get up and do whatever I needed to do. In this way, she slowly taught me to focus and concentrate on getting things done.  (I still use the hack sometimes as an adult…it reminds me of some of Flylady's methods.)

More Parent Hacks posts on how timers simplify life with kids.

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  1. Brian C. says

    Another great use for a time is for limiting computer time. I purchased an old-school wind up kitchen timer, and the kids use it to monitor their use of the computer (we’ve set a 30-minute per day limit!).

    This works great if you have more than one child especially–the timer lets everyone know when it’s the next person’s turn!

  2. andrea from the fishbowl says

    Oh no, not the dreaded timer!

    I have memories of my mother doing this to me when I was supposed to be studying. I hated it so much, and totally turned me against it. It made an already stressful situation even worse.

    My husband’s parents set the timer for him during dinner. He developed food phobias.

    What I guess I’m trying to say is this: if you see your kid is still struggling after you’ve implemented The Timer, don’t push it. It could backfire.

  3. kendra says

    I love timers and flylady too for myself. But I’ll have to remember what Andrea said and not push it too much on my kids if they don’t respond well to it. I’d hate for them to have timer phobias!

  4. momma2mingbu says

    We use a timer for our second grader with his homework. If we don’t then he would take 3 hours to do 20 minutes worth of work.

  5. Teenagedboy says

    30 minutes a day… That sounds to little for a teenager to use the internet… Do you have tips for a teen ager who is adhd I have a insanely hard time not doing something I enjoy and sometimes can’t get my homework done.