Do you use a sand-timer for your children? If you don’t, let me share why you should start to incorporate one and how.

-Allows the child to prepare better and regulate themself. If you are having a good time and someone just says that time is up, that can be rather upsetting. But if you have the opportunity to see that time is wrapping up, you can wind down and prepare a bit more.

Visual aids help clarify the message. I can say, “we are going to get ready for bed in 5 minutes,” but that doesn’t really mean much to a young child. However, “we are going to start getting ready for bed when all the sand has fallen to the bottom of the timer,” gives them something that they can see. This is just a precursor to a good old-fashioned clock. The visualization the sand-timer offers can be especially important for Autistic children.

-Make it positive. We start small with enjoyable activities. If the sand-timer is just used for activities or things that aren’t fun, then it’s going to be viewed less as a tool and more as something to be bummed by. So we use the timer to countdown to when we are going for a walk, when we begin music time, an art activity, etc.

Our sand-timer has three timers; three, four, and five minutes. We only use the five-minute timer, but I liked that the others were there to help T realize that time was finite and passing. To use the three or four-minute timers could be a little confusing, so we don’t.

I started incorporating the sand-timer with T when he was two and it was wonderful! It really cut down on frustration and feelings of upset as it helped prepare him until he was able to read a clock.

Now that E and V are two, we have begun introducing the sand-timer to them. At the moment they really enjoy just watching the sand fall. Another great thing about sand-timers is you can get basic or unique ones that fit your child’s interests or get multiples that fit the times you need.

Have you tried a sand timer with your children?




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