University of Exeter
Tools for Schools
Keeping track of time

Keeping track of time

Key Points

Children with problems concentrating or sustaining attention may struggle to keep track during the day, for short term tasks or for longer term oversight of the day. Students may need encouragement and reminding by using tools to support their time tracking. 

How is this tweaked for flex?

The kind of children flex is most suited for are likely to have difficulties keeping track of how much time is passing, compared to other children of the same age. This can look like daydreaming, not completing work or being very slow to do work

  • Come up with a range of ideas for reminding a child of how much time is passing (e.g. a sand timer), The time reminder ideas and suggestions can help
  • Think about when these might be most useful for the student
  • Plan how you will remember to use them 
  • Ask your student if they have a preference over what time reminder you use
  • Tell the child when you will be reminding them about the time and how many reminders they will get (e.g. "when we are doing quiet work for ten minutes I will remind you every 3 minutes how much time has passed, and give you a 1 minute warning at the end")
  • Use the time reminders
  • When the child takes note of the reminder and engages with the task at hand, use positive reinforcements with them as soon as you can!
  • Reflect on whether using time reminders has helped the child, and if so, how (e.g. has it helped them to complete their work in maths every day this week?)
  • Use the reflection template to record your thoughts, review this regularly to see if you need to change the way that you are using time reminders
  • Consider whether it is better for you or for the student to have control of the reminders
  • Talk to the child and home about how it's working