We use a timer often in my house. Our timer assists in teaching so many skills:
- responsibility for your actions
- time management
- team work (family participation)
- life skills
- consequences for choices
Since my children are still very young (all under 6) I prefer to use a sand timer rather than a digital clock. The sand timer allows the children to “see” the time passing and is a visual clue for how much time is left to accomplish their given task.
We do not use the sand timer as a “threat”, rather it is followed by a privilege that comes as a result of responsibility. For example, “I am starting the timer, if we can finish getting ready for bed (responsibility) before the timer is finished, then everyone can pick out a book to read (privilege)”. I currently only have the 20 minute timer, 20 minutes works great for getting ready for bed, getting ready for the day, cleaning their room after quiet time , finishing responsibilities etc. The sand timers come in a variety of times, you can get several to fit your needs.