1.When your children both want the same toy, use an egg-timer or stopwatch to allocate turns. One child has the toy for the first few minutes – when the bell rings they have to hand it over to the other child. This (ususally) works great with my kids, and prevents many fights!

  1. Set a timer for 1 or 2 minutes. Hide it. Children have to find it before the bell rings!
  2. Set a timer to help a child eat his food, or eat more quickly. If they finish their food before the bell goes give a sticker or reward. Set realistic times.
  3. When you need a rest, put your children in their room, set a timer (somewhere out of reach), and tell them they can only come through to Mummy when the bell rings.

This has a novelty to it – children enjoy waiting for the bell to ring – though it may take several days or even weeks to enforce, depending on the ages of your children, and what they get up to when they are on their own.

The first few days I did this with my boys, the youngest kept running out to me, or one of them would end up crying. But gradually they got better at staying by themselves.

Start with short times and extend the time each day. Give them ‘quiet’ things to do (books, audio books, jigsaws….and nowadays electronics!), though they will probably get up to their own mischief anyway!

Stick at it…it’s worth it!



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