For students who find it difficult to begin, stay with, or complete a task, time's up! Or perhaps I should say - timers are up!
From the lowly plastic, rotary kitchen timer to a stop watch to this iPhone app - timers are simple but powerful tools to equip children with ways to harness time and use it to their advantage.
Consider utilizing them in the following ways:
- Conference with the child as to a reasonable amount of time in which to finish a specific task.
- Be willing to assist him if he is unrealistic in the amount of time he selects.
- For additional motivation, tell the child you think he can complete the task in (select an amount of time that is slightly longer than the one he chose - and one you are certain he will beat).
- Don't be shy about hamming it up a bit by adding some playful competition in your time selections. You'll likely find your student will want to beat the time you wisely choose to challenge him with, and will work hard to do so. Celebrate when he does!
- When possible, allow the child to start the timer himself.
- When possible, allow the child to keep the timer by his side - starting it when he is ready.
- If seeing the time go by is too stressful for the child, you may want to cover the timer or keep it in a location in which he cannot see the time count down to zero.
- Break lengthy assignments into sections and set timer goals for each.
- Shorten the amount of time or lengthen the assignment gradually as he succeeds.
- Reinforce his success primarily with verbal praise but consider additional motivators such as small treats or activities.
This simple method of time management gives your easily distracted child ways to break down a task into manageable chunks. It empowers him to get a handle on time - and all the more if he is permitted to operate the timer himself. It gives him something to compete against (the clock!) and shows him (sometimes with your help) that he can be successful.
And we all know - time flies when you're having fun!