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On•Task On•Time: Time Management for Kids

Teaching Kids to Mind the Clock and Manage Daily Routines

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Updated May 20, 2008

On Task On Time

On Task On Time from Timely Matters, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Timely Matters, Inc.
Sometimes I feel like a very ineffective drill sergeant: "Get up! Get going! Get dressed! Get out the door!" It's the same rigamarole every morning. That's why I was so intrigued by the On•Task On•Time product. Developed by a mom of triplets, it puts the control of daily routines literally into the hands of your children, and alleviates the need for nagging. I gave it to my friend Jen to test out with her eight-year-old twins, Sarah and Lindsay.

What is On•Task On•Time?

Moschel Kadokura, mother of triplets and inventor of On•Task On•Time explains her product: "As in most busy households, getting my children out of bed, fed, dressed, organized, and out the door was quite a task. Every morning started with my gentle reminders: "Please get dressed." (three times for each task); which turned into nagging, "Hurry up and get dressed!"; then yelling, "Why aren't you dressed yet??!!!"

"By the time we were out the door, we were in a frenzy and late. Then, three days out of five, we made the desperate run back to the house for the forgotten lunch, library book, or sharing item. The pressure of making it "by the bell" really added to the stress."

"The source of the conflict was that routine tasks needed to be done in a timely manner. All the tasks were simple, and repeated each day. My children could complete everything on their own, but they needed constant reminders and nagging from me to keep them on-task. I realized that if I removed myself from the reminding and nagging role, they would be able to complete everything on their own. Thus, On·Task On·Time for Kids was born."

The product includes s plastic timer base, supplies for three separate daily routines, 52 task stickers (including extra blank stickers), a whiteboard and two markers and a convenient wall hanger. The product is recommended for children ages five to twelve.

Currently, On•Task On•Time is availble for order through the manufacturer's websiste: Timely Matters, Inc. It costs $49.95 plus shipping.

Setting Up the OTOT

On·Task On·Time

Stickers used to develop routines for the On·Task On·Time time management tool.

Photo courtesy of Timely Matters, Inc.

The On•Task On•Time was larger than I'd expected, about a foot tall, It's clean and colorful and seems to be pretty sturdy and durable. I was excited for my friend Jen and her family to try it out.

Establishing a routine was the first step to putting the product into use. Jen started by making a list of her family's typical school-day morning routine, going step by step through the process and estimating how long each phase would take.

Stickers represent individual tasks in a routine, such as getting dressed, brushing hair, or eating breakfast, Blank stickers allow families to customize the routine and incorporate their own unique tasks. The pictures feature either a boy or a girl, and you specify which gender when you purchase the product (get both if you have boy/girl twins). The pictures on the stickers make the system accessible to nonreaders. The adhesive is reusable, in case you need to adjust the placement of your stickers.

Working backwards from the final task to the first, Jen and her twins selected a sticker to represent each step of their routine and applied the sticker to the disk. The disk is calibrated in ten minute sections, so they spaced the stickers to match the time allotted for each task. (Example: eating breakfast = 20 minutes, getting dressed = 10 minutes)

Once all the stickers were arranged, they popped the disk into the On•Task On•Time. They were ready to start using it the next morning!

Jen's comments about the set-up process: "The stickers were easy to attach to the wheel and it worked well with our 60 minute morning routine."

Putting It Into Practice

The next morning, the twins turned the On·Time handle so that the first task was lined up with the On·Task tab. The Routine Disk rotates counter-clockwise and the color indicators showed what tasks should be completed (red), what should be done now (green), and what tasks are coming up next (yellow).

The girls easily followed the timer and actually found themselves ready for school early! Jen was worried that the novelty of the product would wear off after a few days, but surprisingly found that the girls enjoyed using it consistently. She says, "This product has been very helpful in keeping my girls on track in the morning. It has definitely reduced the amount of nagging. The first week the girls beat the clock by lots of time. Now they sometimes get behind, but then catch up when I say: 'Check your wheel. Are you on track?' "

One of my concerns was that twins might fight over control of the On·Task On·Time. Fortunately, Sarah and Lindsay were able to work it out. While at first, it would be easier to carry the timer around the house (starting in the bedroom, moving to the bathroom, then to the kitchen), once the routine is familiar, the timer could find a home in a central location where it could be referred to as a reminder. A wall hanger makes this easy and convenient.

A built-in white board and pen holder makes it easy for parents to write reminders ("wear a long-sleeve shirt today - it's cold out!" or "don't forget your math homework!") or include special tasks that don't occur every day ("It's Monday - you need your baseball glove for practice.")

Final Thoughts

On Task On Time demo

Sarah and Lindsay demonstrate the On Task On Time timer.

© 2008 Pamela Prindle Fierro, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Ultimately, Jen was very pleased with the product. "There has definitely been less yelling in the morning. Before I would constantly be telling them to check the clock, you need to eat breakfast, get your backpack ready, etc. The problem was that it wasn't visual as to how much time they had to do things. I think that is the greatest strength of the product."

They want to incorporate it into other parts of the day, establishing routines for after school and bedtime. While the product encourages the use of reward charts for kids who stick to the routines, Jen found that Lindsay and Sarah didn't need any extra incentives to stay on track. They probably wouldn't use On•Task On•Time over the summer, but would bring it back into use when school started in the fall.

Jen felt the product worked particularly well for twins, who share the same routine, rather than siblings who might have different schedules. The inventor, a mother of triplets, adds that the competive nature of multiples makes the product particularly effective for them.

Drawbacks

No more nagging or yelling? Cooperative kids? An end to morning chaos? Sounds too good to be true! There's always a downside. Jen did feel that the price of the product -- $49.95 plus shipping -- was a major drawback for her. Even recognizing that it worked successfully for her family, she feels the price would be prohibitive for some families. "I'd pay $20-$30 at the most," she said.

However, you can't put a price on peace. If On•Task On•Time puts an end to your morning misery, it may be well worth the cost!

Related Video
Teach Kids How to Tell Time on Clocks

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