Using Phone Alarm and Timers to Keep Jessie On Track

Currently, the clock app on Jessie’s iPhone is my favorite tool.  It is definitely helping keep Jessie out of trouble and reducing my stress level.  We need both of those things to happen 🙂  While having a phone of her own has been a huge distraction, it has also given her independence and been used as a helpful tool.

I’ve used timers over the years for myself and all of the kids in a variety of ways.  In recent weeks we’ve put to good use both her iPhone alarm clock and timer in several helpful ways.

Jessie doesn’t have a very good concept of how much time has passed. When we need to get dressed and ready to go somewhere, telling her you can watch tv a “few more minutes” and then get dressed just doesn’t mean much to her.

She will often say, “I’ll be ready in 15 or 30 minutes”, when really we’re leaving in five minutes.  In addition to helping us get out of the house, I’m hopeful that over time using the timer for varying amounts of time will help her have a better idea of how long 5 minutes or 15 minutes etc., actually is.

In addition to her lack of concept of time, she would just rather be watching videos, coloring, or playing until the very last free minute. I would tell her to get ready and then once I’m ready would find that she wasn’t.  For a while,  this was causing us a lot of stress as we then had to really hustle to get out the door on time.

In addition to using these tools, I did one time make her miss going to church when there was someone she could stay home with.  Along with the threat of missing out on something, we’ve stepped up our use of alarms and timers and it’s helping a lot.

Ways we use the timer and phone alarm:

To wake up in the morning:

  • As part of our bedtime routine, we discuss the plans for the next day and set her alarms.  If she already knows the plans for the next day, often she has set them on her own. She leaves some preset that she just has to turn on.
  • Jessie sets her alarm for the time to wake up. THEN, she sets a second alarm for 30 minutes later. She can lay in her bed and watch a video until the 2nd alarm goes off, then she makes her bed (she started this on her own recently!) and comes to the kitchen to make her breakfast.

Because we homeschool, this system works for us.  If she had to be up super early, she wouldn’t have as much time to watch a video.  She does still watch a video most days for a shorter time even if she has to get up early (which isn’t often).  She absolutely can get up and get ready without the video but this gives her a minute to shake the fog and be more alert when her feet hit the floor.

Transitioning from one activity to another:

Jessie is grumpy about transitioning from her free time to whatever is next. I go in her room and tell her she has x minutes. Often I give her 15 minutes. She either sets an alarm for 15 minutes later (I tell her what time to set the alarm) or sets a timer for 15 minutes. Most of the time this helps her transition more cheerfully to the next (less fun) activity.

Taking a break from a work activity without “forgetting” to start back:

If she has several chores to do that require standing, bending etc, she can’t do that for long without needing a break.  We are working on this (that’s another post) but for now, she does some chores then she can set a timer for a 15 or 30 minute break, then finish whatever she needs to do.

Doing an activity for a set amount of time:

If Jessie’s room has gotten really out of control, it feels overwhelming to her to tell her to clean it all on her own.  But, if I tell her to set a timer and turn on her music or video and clean her room for 30 minutes, that feels much less overwhelming.  Sometimes, when the timer goes off if she isn’t finished she will keep working.

I use this for other work type activities too.

Help us get out of the house on time:

On swim practice days she sets an alarm for 12:20, which gives her 25 minutes before time to leave our house. When her alarm goes off she puts on her swim suit, brings me a brush and pony tail to put her hair up and puts on her shoes. Ideally, she also brushes her teeth.

Setting an alarm for the time she needs to stop doing whatever else and get ready has been such a huge help.

We don’t have a perfect system and we do not have it all figured out but this is a tool that has been really helpful in making things run more smoothly.  Yes, I could just make her do these things, but this makes her much more compliant without as much nagging or fussing and I’m a fan of that.

I’ve had a chance to spend time with friends this week and bought some pretty new things at a garden center today.  I’m having a great week and hope the same for you!

Till next week friends,

Josette

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