A Neat Way to Help Young Kids Keep Track of Time

Me to Toddler: “Five minutes until dinner. Time to pack up your toys.” Cue tantrum of epic proportions. Sound familiar?

It used to feel as though I spent all day, every day, encouraging my littles to do things in a timely manner. That’s a fancy way of saying that I felt like I was constantly nagging them. Being a mum sometimes just feels like one giant nag session, doesn’t it?

I’ve come to realise that helping my kids to keep track of time helps to minimise tantrums. It fosters kids’ independence and sense of accomplishment and it means that I don’t spend all day nagging away. That’s a win in my kids’ book.

Using music is a fun way I use to help my kids keep track of time. This strategy means I feel less like a nagging mum and more of a feel-good mum. Here’s how it works at our place with a few choice tunes to help you and yours stay on schedule.

Getting dressed in the morning

“Hey, I bet you can’t get dressed by the end of this song!”

What toddler doesn’t love a game? Getting dressed used to take aaaaaages in our morning routine. Days could pass and we would still be trying to put the same sock on. Using music to give my toddler a clear time frame has eliminated (most of) the tears and tantrums from this part of our mornings.

Try these tunes

Lose Yourself to Dance – Daft Punk

Canned Heat – Jamiroquai

Wake Me Up – Avicii

Getting out of the house*

“When this song finishes, we are going to leave.”

Nobody likes leaving in the middle of having fun, right? Playing a song on my phone, reminds my toddler that we are moving on and makes the subsequent transition much easier.

* This could be substituted with leaving the park/ pool/ playgroup/ a play date. Whenever you have to go somewhere and you don’t have all day to prepare for the momentous occasion of leaving…

Try these tunes:

Brontosaurus – Tkay Maidza

Get the Sillies Out- Yo Gabba Gabba

Fireflies – Owl City

Sitting down to eat

“When the music ends, it’s time to stop playing and come and eat.”

I felt as though I was constantly nagging people to come and eat. This strategy helps me to banish my Nagging Mum persona and it means we all get to eat while the food is still hot.

Try these tunes:

Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest

Love Generation – Bob Sinclair

Packing away toys

“When the music stops, it’s time to pack away the toys.”


“Let’s see if you can have everything packed away by the end of this song!”

Packing away toys always seems like a bit of a chore, but using music helps kids to clean up in as little time as possible. It also keeps them entertained while they put the toys away.

Try these tunes:

Played-A-Live – Safri Duo

Lights – Ellie Goulding

Bath time

“When you hear <insert specific song here>, then it’s time to get out of the bath.”

Bath time is another familiar battle zone. Trying to get my kids out of the bath is like trying to herd cats. Providing a soundtrack really helps me out. The kids enjoy listening to some favourite tunes while they bathe and luckily they equally enjoy listening for today’s “get out of the bath” song. Out they come!

Try these tunes…

Ho Hey – The Lumineers

Alaska – Maggie Rogers

Going to bed

“That’s the sleepy-time song, so when it’s finished, it’s time for bed.”

At our place, helping kids keep track of time is pretty crucial at bedtime. Otherwise it descends into “just one more book” time instead of sleepy time. Or these kinds of time:

“Wait! I NEED water” time.

“I HAVE to brush my teeth again” time.

“Don’t you want another kiss and cuddle, Mummy?” time.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

Try these tunes:

Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel IZ Kamakawiwo’ole

Steal My Kisses – Ben Harper

Save the Date

No doubt about it, the days can be long when parenting little people. Yet mysteriously the time also flies and it can be challenging to keep track of all the things that keep family life running smoothly. Vaccinations are an area of family life where it is vitally important to keep track because we know that vaccinating on time is the best way to protect our little ones from some serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

Save the Date 2

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a way to use music to keep track of who needs to be immunised when. If there was, believe me, I’d be playing that tune. Luckily, the “Save the Date to Vaccinate” app helps us mums keep track of when our kids needs to receive their immunisations. You simply create a profile for your child using their date of birth and the app sends a series of reminders for when it’s time to book appointments. It helps to ensure that your littles are vaccinated on time, every time.

Which is definitely something to dance about (with the volume set to very, very loud.)

More of Shannon’s useful tips for family life:

Images: Shannon Wong-Nizic