My mom had a simple timer that she used exclusively for cooking and baking. Whether it was lasagna in the oven or her frequent batches of chocolate chip cookies, the timer’s use was exclusively in the kitchen. I recall an egg timer or two as well, the old-fashioned sand-filled kind, which were used for my play.
The myriad uses for the timer are yet to be explored in our house, but since joining 10 Minute Novelists several years ago, I’ve discovered more “grown up” uses for the timer that I should be employing more frequently to keep on task with both writing and household chores.
It’s only in recent years that I’ve discovered the value of the timer in raising children, mainly through the recommendations of other parents. So, here are my 5 Favorite uses for a timer that I’d never considered until I became a parent.
- Standing in the corner/being punished. (For some reason I deplore the use of the term “time out.”) Our current punishment zone is the steps. That’s where they sit, away from toys and siblings, while being punished. I go with one minute per year of life, but getting up before your time is up will earn you more minutes.
- Sitting on the potty. I’m not going to add to this except to say that sometimes children who’d rather be playing must be forced to stop and at least attempt to use the potty.
- Time in the shower or bath. We have six people in this house and only one shower/bath. It’s not so bad, but occasionally a kid, especially in the cold weather, wants to spend extra time under the hot water. The timer ensures it’s not excessive.
- Toothbrushing. I’ve not employed this too often since my kids seem to do the job fairly well on their own. My oldest, however, who has a whole dental regimen due to his braces, uses the timer for a nightly fluoride rinse.
- Reading minutes. Got to track minutes for school homework? Summer reading program? Easy peasy.
- Putting Spider-Man in the freezer. Here’s the one I didn’t anticipate. If you have a small Spider-Man figure that turns into black Spider-Man when chilled and regular Spider-Man at room temperature, you’re going to need a timer. Otherwise, a toddler will pester you every several seconds to retrieve his superhero from the freezer, whether the web slinger has had time to magically transform or not.
What creative uses do you have for a timer?