While many adults suffer from chronic procrastination, it can be even worse with children. Kids may complain and refuse to begin boring tasks such as doing their homework or doing chores around the home—sometimes they may wait until the last minute, and sometimes they may never do them at all. One way to help your child get started with tasks and focus on them is to use a kids' task timer. Read on to find out how they work.
How Does a Kids' Task Timer Work?
When using a kids' task timer, you select a length of time for your child to work on a task that he or she doesn't want to do. For example, working on math homework for 15 minutes. Afterwards, there's a timed break period in which your child gets to do whatever he or she wishes for the duration, such as check social media, watch videos, or use the computer.
Once the break period is over, the work period begins again. This cycle alternates until your child completes the task at hand.
How Does a Kids' Task Timer Help Kids Focus on Tasks?
When children are facing a boring task that needs to be done, it's common for them to procrastinate for extended periods of time—the same thing often happens with adults as well! Kids' task timers are useful because of the concept of task initiation. Once the timer begins, your child must begin to work on the task that he or she doesn't want to do, such as chores or homework.
Why does using a timer work better than simply telling your child to clean their room or work on homework? The effectiveness of a task timer comes from the enforced break periods. Your child knows that the boring task ahead of them will be interspersed with periods that they can use to do whatever they wish—they won't be locked into doing chores until everything is completed. The break periods make it more acceptable for children to begin doing tasks that they don't enjoy.
How Can a Task Timer Help Children Develop the Skills They Need to Succeed?
Ideally, as children get older, they should begin to set the timer themselves. Your child should estimate the amount of time it will take to complete a task and then schedule work periods appropriately. Of course, you'll have to provide some guidance in order to avoid them spending all of their time playing instead of working.
The ability to estimate how long a task will take, schedule work accordingly and begin working is a very important part of executive functioning. Using a kids' task timer helps to build these skills, and these skills will help your child later in life. In college, for example, students are expected to demonstrate the ability to study and work in a self-directed manner—in this environment, task timers are a very useful way of sitting down and getting work accomplished without procrastination.
Overall, kids' task timers can help your child focus on tasks that he or she doesn't want to do. At the same time, it helps them build the executive functioning skills needed for the future. The next time your child doesn't want to do chores or homework, consider using a kids' task timer to help them get started.