Watching the clock

One of the most common triggers for Avery’s meltdown’s and my anger is trying to get dressed in the morning. In the past, I would set a timer for her, usually 15 minutes, to pick out her clothes and put them on. Most days, this was fine. Occaisonally, however, she would completely freak about me even mentioning setting the timer. Because we used the timer for time-outs as well, she was associating it with a negative thing. I thought it was strange that this was only some days, but decided it was best to forgo the timer in the morning, since I wasn’t able to handle it the days she got upset (of course, it’s always the days that we are more rushed because we actually have somewhere to be). I have tried something new that has had some success and seems to have elminiated the major tantrums while getting ready.

When we have somewhere to be, I draw a circle on a piece of paper in marker, with the time I’ve asked her to be ready by (someday I’d like to make a simple clock I can move the hands on). I tape it up on the ceiling right next to the clock in her room. “Don’t let the big hand (as I point to it on her clock) go past the 12 (or whatever number),” I’ll say. Now, she’s only 3 1/2 and this is the first time that we’ve talked about clocks or telling time. So, she’s not  quite getting it. But it puts the responsibility for watching the time (rather than it being an arbitrary 15 minutes that she can’t “see” or predict) and being ready. She doesn’t like being surprised.

So, far, she hasn’t let me know when the time is up, but she’s usually ready within 5 or so minutes of having this discussion, so I will instead go back in her room and talk about the clock again and let her know she did it, she was dressed before the clocks “matched.”

Anyway, it gives me the opportunity to talk about something she should be learning soon, with a practical application to her growing independence as we teach her time management. 


2 thoughts on “Watching the clock

  1. okay, so i’m glad to see that you’re using a unique way to help avery but wouldn’t it be easier for you to make the decision for her? or pick out 2 outfits from which she can choose? you know me…i’m much more rigid on this kind of stuff ;-)

  2. Because the problem isn’t picking out the outfit, it’s putting it on. I am not going to do that for her when she is perfectly capable of doing it herself.

    For a while, I gave her two outfits to choose from, then all summer pretty much she made her own–very interesting–selections.

    Now it’s a mix, depending on where we are going or what we are doing. Some days, I will pull something out for her and ask if she wants to wear it and a lot of times she’ll say yes. (I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I let her pick it out herself for so long, and I never force to wear any one thing.)

    So, I put the outfit on her bed and give her the time limit … and go get ready myself.

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