Visuals are very important for any child whether they have additional needs or not. It can be very difficult for a child to understand the concept of time. Sand timers are brilliant tools for helping with this. Firstly you will need to fully explain to your child how the sand timers work but once they’ve got the basic gist. you can start to use it as a fun and visual helper.
Here are 5 great uses that we have found for sand timers.
Have you ever told your children “5 more minutes” or “5 minutes and we will”
Whether you want to leave the house, eat dinner, get them of electronics sand timers are great for this. Rather than just saying 5 minutes and expecting them to understand that 5 minutes have passed, giving them the visual of a sand timer can really help.
So if lunch is going to be 5 minutes, explain to your child lunch will be 5 minutes and start the sand timer. Explaining when all of the sand has passed through it will be time for lunch.
Everyone needs time out at some point. If you want your child to have a time out, simply take them to a safe place and explain they are having a time out and that once the sand has passed through the timer they can come back and engage in whatever they were doing before. Not only can they see the time passing but the sand can also be quite calming to watch.
Now flip this round, life with children can be very hard and sometimes as a parent you may need a time out. Again explain to your child that you need a time out and once the sand has passed through the timer your time out will have finished. Wether you need 5 minutes to regroup or just go to the toilet alone, the visual of a sand timer can really help to promote this. This can be really helpful if you are talking to another adult to encourage them to wait and not interrupt.
Imagine your children both want to play with the same toy or game and need to take turns. You can explain the fairness of taking turns and set the sand timer. Timmy gets to play with the ball for 3 minutes and once the sand has run out it will be James turn. The child waiting their turn will benefit from watching the timer as a visual count down and it will really encourage turn taking.
Make turn taking into a fun game but setting the sand timer and starting to tell a story. Once the sand has run through it is the next persons turn and so on … you can adapt this with lots of fun games.
You can turn all of the things your child doesn’t like to go into a game by using a sand timer. For example, if they don’t like putting their toys away you can set a sand timer and say “let’s see if we can put all of these toys away before the sand runs out” you can work together and make it a fun and enjoyable task.
It is very important that we brush our teeth for 2 minutes twice a day. It can be very difficult for anyone to guess how long 2 minutes is. Using a sand timer will solve this and even make teeth brushing a little more fun!
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