“Timers Keep All of Us on Schedule”
Kelly Wilson, 44Mason, Ohio
Married to Ken, 46; mother of K.J., 14; Kyler, 12 (shown); Koah, 3
Kelly Wilson always relied on a kitchen timer to tell her when a batch of cookies was ready to come out of the oven. Then, several years ago, the personal coach and mother of three had an epiphany: She would use the same device to keep her kids moving in the morning. Her husband, Ken, a sales executive turned entrepreneur, had to leave so early for the office that he wasn’t able to help out, and Kelly says, “my nagging wasn’t helping the kids get ready any faster. I realized that a timer would take me out of the role of the bad guy. It’s a straightforward, unemotional reminder that it’s time to do the next thing.”
Nine timers strategically placed throughout the house help Kelly’s family keep to their schedules. As soon as her eldest son, K.J., wakes up at 6 a.m., Kelly sets a timer in the bathroom that gives him 12 minutes to brush his teeth and wash his face. She uses the same amount of time to say a prayer and sip her first cup of coffee.
Kelly also sets a timer so that once K.J. is downstairs to eat his usual bowl of cereal, he knows how much time he has before the bus arrives. “Instead of yelling, ‘Get moving!’ and saying something negative,” says Kelly, “now, if necessary, I calmly say, ‘Hey, the timer went off.’”
Kelly repeats the same routine when Kyler wakes up around 7 a.m. “He likes the system so much that he sets his own timers now,” says Kelly. (Three-year-old Koah often sleeps right through all of this morning action.) Recently Kelly started using a timer in other parts of her life. For example, she might set her cell-phone timer so she doesn’t spend more than 20 minutes in the grocery store (“Otherwise I’d probably be looking at kitchen gadgets or something else I don’t need”). This strategy also keeps presentations for her women’s Bible-study group from running too long. “I try to be gracious, but I think everyone is happy to have a tool to manage the ‘long talkers’ in our group.”
Mornings in Kelly’s household are now enjoyable, she says. “My husband thinks relying on timers for everything is funny, but even he admits it works for us.”