Just five more minutes!
When is this going to be over?
When is lunch?
When is Grandma going to be here?
Time and its passage is a concept that takes some time for children to develop. Because it’s so abstract, young children will repeatedly ask when something is going to happen and when it’s going to be over, or beg for more time when they’re not quite finished with something. No matter who you are and how much patience you have on a given day, that can get kind of…
…annoying? Is that the word? But it’s not their fault! Kids have such little control over their lives, you can’t blame them for at least wanting to know what’s coming and when. Offering something concrete and visual can not only drastically reduce a child’s need to ask, but can promote independence and time management. I’m serious. I’ve literally heard kids who’ve been engrossed in play say, Oh, choice time’s almost over. Let’s start cleaning up! Like, in real life. Not in my wildest dreams. Want a piece of this magic? Check out the school tools below.
Like sand through the hourglass…
Sand timers offer kids a visual representation of time in a fun and colorful way. They come in a wide variety of time options, from 30 seconds all the way to an hour. They also come in many different sizes. Some are large enough to be seen from across the room, while others are small and light.
Possible uses in the classroom:
- to measure independent work time
- as a countdown to cleanup
- race against the timer for completing routines
- to measure time for a child who needs a break
- as part of a behavior plan (every 2 minute without calling out = a star)
Possible uses at home:
- to measure homework time (although I prefer the Time Timer)
- to break homework time up into increments with breaks in between
- as a countdown to cleanup (reduces the 5 more minutes? request)
- as a countdown to bedtime
- race against the timer: promotes independence in routines like getting dressed in the morning, cleaning up toys, getting ready for bed, etc.
- to measure breaks, or time-outs
The Time Timer
This is probably my favorite and most used classroom tool. With a large Time Timer up on the wall, the kids can look up and see how much time is left. Rather than having five antsy kids coming up asking, When is reading time over?, they just glance up at the clock and get back to their books. I was actually very pleasantly surprised at how quickly and eagerly they use this tool.
This short video does a great job of summing up why this timer is so valuable.
For the Classroom:
- To measure homework time
- To measure instrument practice time
- To count down to an event (when a friend is arriving)
- To measure play time/count down to cleanup time
- To measure car rides, if your child is flexible with unexpected change
So, in an effort to go from this,
give some of these a try, and let everybody know how it goes in the comments!