Thursday, August 23, 2012

Time Warnings

I use time limits all the time with my little one: "5 minutes left before it's time to clean up" and then I give a 1 minute warning after that.  Kids need to know what is expected and what comes next.  And adults do too.  Imagine what you would think if you were watching your favorite TV show and all of a sudden your partner came up and turned the TV off right in the middle!  And for a toddler, can we say temper tantrum?

So I try really hard to give time limits so my child can transition from one activity to the next.  As a play therapist, we do this in every play therapy session, as it also helps children develop trust and knowing that what the therapist says will happen.

But lately with my newborn at home, I find myself now saying things like, "just a second" to my child.  And I'm sure she's learning that a 'second' is not really a second, it's more like 10 minutes!  Like when I have to change the baby's diaper and my child wants me to put a dress on her doll.  I'm trying really hard to work on not saying that so she can learn that when mommy says "just a minute" she really means it.  Plus I want her to trust me and learn limits.  I don't want my child to ask me for something and then tell her just a minute and have her jumping all over the room and starting a temper tantrum because she has learned that mommy doesn't mean what she says.  Hard habit to break, but I'm working on it.

And one other time trick my husband and I have started using is counting down.  So after I give my 1 minute warning and she still doesn't want to transition to what we've asked, we start saying, "10, 9, 8, 7..." and she thinks it funny but by the time we get to 1, she actually does what we ask!  Okay, so it may not work every time, but for the most part it has.  And when it doesn't then we have to stick to our word and turn off the TV, or clean up her toys, or whatever we ask, because that is a whole other issue, not following through on limits we set. Hard but so well worth it in the long run :)


  1. I say just a second all the time too, but it makes sense that if I start saying it and mean it, he'll do more and listen to me better.