“Five more minutes!”
This is a universal time unit that parents use both when we are trying to stall for more time, “just give me five more minutes to finish talking to Mommy’s friend, and then we’ll set up the Legos,” and when we are trying to hurry up time, “Five more minutes until bedtime.”
In reality, if a clinical study existed on how much time elapses between when Mom says “Five more minutes” and when whatever activity she says is five minutes in the future takes place, I bet the range would be somewhere between 2 minutes and 30.
So can we really blame or kids when they don’t seem to grasp how much time 5 minutes truly represents?
Ten minutes seems like a lot, and “a minute” or even “a few minutes:” is too vague. But five minutes. Five minutes seems definitive. Good on you, Mom, you are in charge and you are setting and enforcing deadlines and boundaries when you declare that something will happen at the end of this five-minute countdown you’ve just started. Or it will in the next 2-30 minutes, probably.
So perhaps sometimes we forget that 5 minutes is not actually a suggestion but instead is an actual measure of time: 300 seconds. And the perception of five minutes and not a lot of time can trick our own minds when we forget the power in 5 minutes, when used deliberately.
Today, Time Timer announced the launch of the new Time Timer PLUS ® 5 Minute Edition. It has all the great streamlined design, ruggedness and portability that made the original PLUS a Mom’s Choice and Teacher’s Choice Award winner. And by limiting the time to 5 minutes, it enables you and your kids to not only make each of those minutes count, but also to hold yourself accountable in those five minutes.
Five minutes is only 1/12 of one hour, but if you are intentional about how you use the time, you can accomplish a lot.
- Have a five-minute silly dance party with your kids. Studies have shown that taking five minutes to dance can boost your mood.
- Write in your journal.
- Start a nighttime routine with your kids.
- Share the good and bad about your day. After five minutes are up, let go of the bad and reflect on the good.
- Clean up. Make a game with the kids to see who can clean up the most in five minutes.
- Sprint. Set the timer and see how fast and far you and your kids can go.
- Jump Rope. See if you can jump with one leg or double dutch with the kids.
- Stretch. Warm up your muscles no matter what time of day it is.
- Work out some energy by dancing.
- Go for a walk down the hall, or out the door for fresh air.
- Practice mindfulness. Set the timer and focus only on each sense you are experiencing. For example, try to focus on the taste and smell of your morning cup of coffee.
- Sit still and breathe. This may seem simple, but trying to stay present in the moment can be difficult. However, the benefits of slowing down can contribute to a sense of restfulness. (And if you’re like me, start with 1 minute and build up to 5!)
- Soak your feet in warm water with epsom salt.
- Make a healthy snack.
- Make a list of things you are thankful for.
Of course, you can set the Time Timer for less time. Encourage your child to brush their teeth for 2 minutes, or let him know his hot snack will cool off in about 3 minutes. The possibilities are endless.
But there is one slight caveat: Once you teach your kids how much time 5 minutes really is, they’re going to hold you to it. So if you say you’re only checking your email for 5 minutes, don’t be shocked if they set that timer right next to your Laptop.