Friday, January 8, 2010

Parenting Tools: The Kitchen Timer

I have two little munchkins under the age of 2 and daily I am learning how to (and how not to) be a mom.  I suppose for every parent, every stage is a new experience so I thought I would share one of mine.

My favorite parenting tool to date kitchen timer.  Who would have thought?

The one pictured here sells at Target for under $10.

For my infant, it is a sanity saver.  It keeps reality in check.  Sometimes before falling asleep she needs to cry, and those few minutes can feel like hours.  So I set my timer for 4 minutes, go into another room across the house and get a quick chore done, and don't check on her until the timer goes off.  Usually she is off to dream land.  Often when I feel like she has been crying forever I am surprised to look and see it has been only 2 minutes.

For my almost-2-year-old it is an even more important tool.  Toddlers do not understand time and waiting.  They don't know if it will be a minute or an hour.  The timer helps control that sense of unknown and takes the attention off the parent.

When my son wants to eat but his food needs to go into the freezer for a minute to cool, I set the timer.  He knows he just has to wait for the beep (and it keeps me from forgetting it is in there!)  When he gets in trouble and is sent to time out, he knows he must stay in the chair until the beep.  It's not mom that won't let him up yet, it is the timer.  When he wants to keep playing in the bath (always) we set the timer for 3 minutes and he can play until the beep, then we have to clean up our toys.

What are your favorite parenting tools?

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