As a father of two and a nerd, I’m always looking for ways to use technology to make life a little more productive. This weekend, I used technology to make life a little easier for my three-year-old by creating a “time-out timer” so that she could understand the concept of time a little better and perhaps make it through her time outs with less fuss.
The Problem – “Time” Out
Although I can claim (with pride) that my 3-year-old knows quite a few of her numbers, we are still working on telling time. The whole concept of “time” is really hard to explain, especially to children. When forced to wait for anything she wants, she proclaims, “It’s really hard to wait!” This is an understandable response when one stops to consider how difficult waiting must be to little ones who don’t know how much time is left to wait. This frustration is amplified when faced with waiting while experiencing something she does NOT want – the dreaded Time Out. We decided that time out should be silent or the time started over. This was even more difficult to live with. Frequently, she would only have seconds remaining on her 3 minute time out and cry out, “Can I come out now?!” I didn’t like having to restart time out, if she was genuinely not understanding the concept of time. I also felt that had she only known how close she was to “freedom,” she could have made it the remaining few seconds.
The Process – Finding a Time Measurement Solution
I began searching for visual representations of time that would be simple to understand, not require a lot of setup, and (ideally) cost no money. I found a couple of interesting resources, such as a “time out stool” that was constructed out of a giant hour glass. And my wife had already discovered the wonderful “calming jars” that we’ve used many times in the past. Unfortunately, neither of these were working for my problem. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a silly piece of furniture, nor see my little child spend 3 minutes upside down, trying to watch as the sand falls. Plus, I imagine that my little one might find more enjoyment it her time out stool than her other chairs, which would defeat the whole purpose. Further, the calming jars were not a precise measurement of time, which I wanted, and don’t let me know when all of the glitter has fallen to the bottom of the jar. I began searching for a visual time out clock for kids to understand. Shockingly, I could not find anything that suited my needs and budget!
The Solution – Visual Clock for Kids
I made my own visual clock for kids that my 3-year-old could understand. Since she knows her shapes, I can tell her, “When this grows to a circle, you are done with time out.” It’s simple, easy and free.
It worked great for me and my family. It helps my girl understand her situation better, isn’t really fun (I kept the page very simple) and, best of all, I haven’t had to restart a timer yet!
I’m sharing it here in case anyone else is having similar problems. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for time out. It could be used for any time that is difficult for little ones to wait through. I’ve made a clock for 3-year-olds, lasting 3 minutes and a clock for 4-year-olds lasting 4 minutes. If there is any interest in others, let me know, and I can easily modify the code to accommodate your preferred time. I designed this solution to be portable too, working on your iPhone, iPad or computer. Just bookmark the page and you can have it for future use – point a browser to that location and start the timer. Instructions for bookmarking the site on a mobile device are below for your convenience:
- Navigate to the clock for 3-year-olds, lasting 3 minutes.
- Hit the Share button: it’s the icon in the middle at the bottom of the page. It represents a page with an arrow coming out of it (as shown immediately below).
- Click the icon that reads ‘Add to Home Screen.’
The link above is to the one minute timer. If you’d like the 3 minute timer, I simply ask that you take 1 second to Like us on Facebook or +1 us on Google. If you have any questions, comment below or send me an email using the Contact tab in the above navigation. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your technology (and kids).
Time Out Clock for 3-year-olds, lasting 3 minutes
FloridaPro specializes in finding great technology solutions for our client’s needs. Obviously, this was just an example of a fun and productive answer to a difficult problem with my kids, but finding solutions is our passion at FloridaPro Computing Give us a call today to help with your home or small business.
I love this concept – something my son can understand. Any way you could make a 90s and 120s version?
Doris Morgan says
When my children were small (over 50 years ago) there was a time-out clock and I could set it for up to 5 min and the face on the clock was frowning when in time-out mode. Then when the time was up, the frown would turn to a smile. I loved it and I would buy it today for great grandkids but have not found one with the frown to a smile face. Time to reinvent!