You guys, I have a parenting secret. A Jedi-mind-trick, if you will, that has revolutionized my life.

It’s pretty basic. Many of you probably already know this or do it on the daily. BUT, every single time I use this trick in public I have other parents stare at me open-mouthed and say “I have to try that!” So, I figure, there have to be at least some people out there who don’t know this trick yet. So, I’m spilling my secrets.


Are you ready? The best way I can think of to tell you about this trick is to tell you a story about it in action. Let me paint the scene for you…

We were hanging out at Barnes & Noble recently and Jackson was playing with the train set with a bunch of other toddlers. He was having a blast, but we had been there for about half an hour and Mr. Garland and I were getting hungry for lunch. I walked over and said, “hey buddy, are you ready to go get some lunch?”


“…we’re going to go have pizza!”


He was clearly irritated with me even asking and toddled off, train in hand, to keep playing. I knew it was time for the timer.

I grabbed my phone and said, “Jack, you have one more minute to play. I am setting my timer. When it beeps, it’s time to go.”

One minute later, my timer went off. I walked back over and showed Jackson the phone. I told him it was time to say bye-bye to the trains and go have lunch.


Do you want to know what he did?

He set the train down on the table and said, “bye bye!” then he waved and said bye to each of the kids he had been playing with. Then, he ran over to where Mr. Garland was waiting with the stroller and hopped right in.


Toddlers need warning, they need boundaries, and they need some extra prompts. There’s just something about that magic little timer that works every time. We use it for bath time, nap time, going in from playing in the backyard…basically every single time we know he’ll struggle with a transition, we bust out the timer. And it works every. single. time.

And now you know!

Have you tried the timer trick with your toddler yet?