Now, I don’t want to come across all military or anything, because that’s definitely not my parenting style… but, sometimes things at home need a little shaking up. In a fun way of course!
You are probably familiar with the scenario where the morning routine is starting to go astray (I’m sure it can happen to even the most boot-camp style of households). As the year progresses and enthusiasm for school wanes, the children take longer to ‘get up and get going’ in the morning. Getting dressed and eating breakfast, brushing teeth and hair seems to take forever, and we are getting progressively later and later for school. The nightly routine isn’t faring any better; the kids don’t want to go upstairs for a bath, I finally get them up and they won’t get out! I guess that we are caught in a bit of a rut. And old incentives simply lose their… well… incentive!
I tried the ‘competition method’ of ‘let’s see who can get dressed first’ but with a 4-year gap between my two children and a highly competitive, very capable older sister, my sometimes clumsy son was bound to lose every time and that was not fair. So, I had to find another way…one that gave them an equal chance of winning! A challenge, rather than a competition…
Introducing the ‘Buzzer’, as we now affectionately call it! It is green and egg shaped and sometimes I have to wonder where it has been all my life (hiding in my spoon drawer in fact). Indeed it is my new parenting tool and an effective one too.
It works like this — I’ll challenge my children to be washed and out of the bath before the buzzer goes off in say, ‘5’ minutes. I just pluck a reasonable number (of minutes) and set the timer accordingly. I’ll then give them, say ‘7’ minutes to get dry, into their pyjamas and into bed with their chosen books. Oh, the excitement! My son, forever the enthusiast, is now asking me to set the buzzer when he goes to the toilet, blows his nose, does a somersault…..
Most people probably have a kitchen timer and if not even an alarm clock will do. But this gadget (similar ones available from Amazon) is fun and a novelty and is working a treat…..for now anyway!
ps. Just in case you were wondering — it doesn’t seem to work on husbands, I did try…….
I love this idea, and I’m sure my kids would too.
I have probably created a bad connection to the buzzer as we use it for ‘time-outs’. Only when the buzzer goes off can they come out.
Perhaps I should adopt your idea of making it fun as well.
Also, I’m impressed your kids get themselves dressed! My 4 1/2-year-old still needs me to put his clothes on for him!
This is a great idea! My child is still a baby, but I used to work in a pre-school with 3-4 year olds and they would’ve loved this little \game\. I’ll have to remember this for when my son gets older!
We use the egg-timer too (introduced by a disciplinarian au pair) and funnily enough, it has a great positive impact. After a week of egg-timer, Milla is totally ready to do everything within time – or else, there would be a return of the egg-timer. She doesn’t want that…
Courtney, I still have to help my ‘just 4’ year old in the bath and to get dressed! But, it’s a great way to get him to co-operate and to ‘move’ faster – he can really take his time in the ‘getting ready’ department….also, he has a doting older sister who helps him too.
OOooh, fabulous idea! I don’t have one handy but I am off to get one today…..a wonderful parenting tip!
I love it – my 4 year old son asks me to count down as he goes from bedtime stories into the bed, without fail every night!
wonderful and smart idea!!! I’m always late, we are always late … my oldest (3 and half years old) always says :”wait, I have to do something else before washing hands, eating, get dressed …”
I’ll go immediately to by an egg like yours, very coloured and nice