Timers can help a child know when it's time to leave the park, have a snack, share a toy, etc. Or just giving children a small choice about how to move on to the next activity - do you want to walk or skip to the car?
Recently I heard about a new product called Octopus. Octopus is a watch for young kids that may help them stay on schedule and switch from one activity to another.
Personally, I am hesitant to use these tricks/products with our kids.
Sometimes plans change unexpectedly. A child gets sick, a plane is delayed, etc. During these situations, I don't want our kids to become even more confused because they are used to looking at their watch, waiting for a timer to buzz, or waiting for me to give them a choice.
And sometimes plans change unexpectedly because a situation becomes dangerous. In those situations, I need our kids to listen to me (or the adult taking care of them), not a watch and not a timer.
I'm also hesitant to use these tricks/products because they could take away chances for kids to make decisions. When should we leave the park so everyone (including me) is content? How should we share the trucks so everyone is happy? How many books can we read tonight? Many times, if given the opportunity, young kids can (or at least can help) come up with workable solutions.
How do you make transitions easier for your kids?