Raising a child is one of the most difficult challenges that parents must face. Children do not come with an instruction manual under their arms, so it is often necessary to resort to instinct and patience to shape children’s behavior from an early age.
However, although there are no shortcuts or magic formulas to direct educational guidelines, there are some tools that can not only help you work on your children’s behavior but also improve family dynamics. The clock technique is one such resource.
What is the clock technique? The benefits for child development
Designed to correct children’s behavior, the clock technique focuses on the training of different daily activities. Basically, the technique focuses on promoting the performance of certain tasks with the aim of teaching children to organize themselves better and focus their attention on a single activity. In fact, it’s a simple strategy for them to learn positive behavior patterns and gain responsibility as they grow.
However, the truth is that this technique goes far beyond behavioral education. It is also an excellent resource to encourage children’s concentration and stimulate self-control from an early age. When applied correctly, this technique is an ideal tool to enhance the development of logical thinking, promote time awareness and train working memory.
It is worth noting that the technique is recommended for children under 8 years of age since it is much more effective during early childhood, when habits and behavioral patterns are still being formed. However, that does not mean that this tool cannot be used at other ages. If older children lack good organization, have poor self-control or have difficulty assuming responsibilities, the clock technique can help them to be more disciplined in their daily lives and to focus on the highest priority tasks of their day to day.
How to apply the clock technique in three steps?
Including the clock technique in the family dynamic is very simple, but it is important to apply it well if you want to obtain good results. The first step is to explain to the little ones at home, in simple and easy-to-understand language, what the technique consists of, how it is implemented and what benefits it will bring. In this way, the children will feel more involved and will make an effort to complete each step of the technique. Once the little ones are ready:
1. Choose the activity to do
One of the fundamental steps of the clock technique is to choose the activities to work on. The ideal is to start with simple tasks that do not require too many skills and are easy to execute so that children learn how the technique works. For example, you can start with tasks like picking up toys, making the bed, setting the table, or picking up dry leaves from the garden. To make the process easier, start with one task at a time. As they gain skills, you can increase the number of activities and the complexity of them.
2. Simplify the task into steps
Breaking down different activities into simpler tasks not only allows children to automate the process but also to simplify it. The idea is to identify the different steps that are needed to complete each action, so that it can be done in parts. For example, to collect the toys, you must open the box, drawer or cabinet where they are going to be stored and then take each toy to its storage place to put it in its place. Obviously, the more complex the activity, the more steps will have to be defined.
2. Define the time frames
Finally, and the most important step of the clock technique, is to establish time limits for each activity. That will be the time that the children will have to execute the different tasks. Obviously, it must be adapted to the complexity of the activity and the level of child development, since while a 5-year-old child may need 15 minutes to pick up her toys, an 8-year-old child can do it in 5 minutes. At least at the beginning, it is recommended not to be too strict with time and leave a margin so that the little ones do not feel so pressured. As they gain skill with the technique, the time frame can be reduced to improve their organizational skills.
What should you keep in mind when applying the clock technique?
To be successful with the clock technique it is not enough to follow all the steps, it is also important to motivate the children during the process. Whether it’s with a motivating phrase like “You can do it”, inspiring background music or simple applause, urge the little ones at home to put all their efforts into achieving it. Thus, not only will you give them extra energy, but you will also prevent them from getting frustrated and losing the desire to try halfway.
Another strategy to make the technique work and get the children involved in the process is to use extrinsic elements such as a stopwatch, an alarm clock or an hourglass to measure the time of each activity. In this way, the little ones will have another motivational factor to put their maximum effort into the task they perform. In the long run, it will not only help them meet their short-term goals, but it will also teach them how to find new, more effective ways to organize.
Finally, keep in mind that the earlier you start applying the technique, the better the results will be since you will be teaching children to be organized and gain responsibility from an early age. Of course, as children grow it will be necessary to adapt the technique to their level of maturity because although the little ones need more external stimuli, in older children it is important to focus more on self-control and the development of real problem-solving strategies. effective.