Whenever we want the kids to do something that they don't want to do (or stop doing something they want to keep on doing) we give them a time limit and set the timer. Then when the timer goes off, they have to start/stop what they're doing. It really does result in less arguing and better obedience.
Now, in our old place, where there was an open layout between the kitchen and living room, we just set the kitchen stove timer. In our new place, the kitchen is down the hall from the living room so if they're in the living room, we use a portable dial-type timer.
Jessica loves this timer, for some unknown reason. She sets it to go off randomly and when it goes off, sets it again.
This morning was the first day of school, time to get back on a schedule. She was playing with Xander and I told her 5 minutes before we had to leave for school. I set the timer, then went outside to get Xander's stroller from the shed. When I got back inside, I checked the timer, expecting it to have already gone off.
Not only had it not gone off, there was still about 10 minutes on it. I thought this was odd but chalked it up to the timer not working right, because if you set it for less than 15 minutes, you have to dial it past 15 minutes and then back down. I figured I hadn't done this.
In any case, I set the timer for 2 more minutes.
When it went off, Jessica looked up in surprise.
"Did you touch the timer?" she asked, suspiciously.
This set off alarms in my head.
"Did *you* touch the timer?" I asked, suddenly realizing why the timer still had 10 minutes on it.
Giggles and refusal to meet my eyes were enough of an answer.
That little sucker thought I wouldn't realize the time had been changed. She is devious!
She's at her first day of first grade in her new school now. I hope it's going okay. I've probably been more nervous about it than she's been. Here's a picture of her from this morning: