Darth Vader Prevented Tardiness

When you watch Star Wars (any of the original three) and hear “The Imperial March,” you know Darth Vader is on screen, or about to be. The song invokes a bit of fear, doesn’t it?

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasyIt’s supposed to. (John Williams = Brillant)

But what does Darth Vader have to do with tardiness.

He’s our alarm. Well, his song is.

I know what you’re thinking…Diana didn’t know an alarm can keep one from being late?

Well, I did already know that.  😉

What I’ve discovered is how to use an alarm as a time management device in the morning to help Armadillo get ready for school. She’s a little slow moving.

(My mom is reading this and saying, “Paybacks…”  I hear her laughter. Or, maybe that was the Emperor laughing…  {Just kidding, Mom!} )


Armadillo hates being late, but she moves at her own speed. Her movements rarely show any kind of urgency. Ever.

One day, I decided to let her get ready for school at her own pace. The result was a tardy slip from the front office. And tears. Lots of tears. None were mine.

It was a valuable lesson. She announced that she never wanted another one of those pink sticky note thingies (kindergarteners and their vocabularies).

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasy

Did that encourage her to increase her speed on mornings she woke up late? Sort of, but not really.

It was time to put Phase 2 into action. At work, my calendar gives me a 15-minute warning before a meeting, so why not use the same idea. Armadillo could use that, too.

On my phone, I set a daily alarm to give her a 12-minute warning. Why 12? Because 15 was too long.

Also, we needed Darth Vader.

I told her the plan. She had 3 or 4 snoozes before she needed to be in the car, or else she risked getting a tardy slip.

The next morning when that first alarm went off, she moved like lightning to get ready for school.

Over a year later, we still use this alarm every school day. She keeps track of the number of alarms. She knows that if she hears Darth Vader’s song 4 or 5 times, then she’s cutting it close.

“The Imperial March” has a lovely sense of urgency. (Another one that I’ve used is a few seconds from a My Little Pony episode when Twilight Sparkle yells, “Run!”)

Don’t tell her this, but I have a 5-minute window so she isn’t late, even if the alarm makes it to #6 with no more snooze options. Is that using the Dark Side of the Force for good?

If one of us hits the big red X that turns off the alarm, well, let’s just say Jabba the Hut’s lair looks more appealing than the school office when they have to give out those end-of-the-world pink sticky note thingies.

May the Force be with you! And prevent tardiness!

What time management techniques do you use to make sure you or your family are on time to places?

20 comments on… “Darth Vader Prevented Tardiness”

  1. Hahaha, my mom would’ve liked this. Cell phones weren’t around, so she took to flashing the stairway light on and off and just yelling us into compliance. Kids these days.

    • Diana Beebe

      LOL. I love that–flashing the lights. The technology tools we can use today…I could’ve used an alarm like this in college. 🙂

  2. That’s awesome – Darth Vader would get me going, too!

    I was usually the snooze alarm, with a hurry-hurry-hurry if I heard the school bus coming. But once when my then 2nd grader was too slow too many times, I made him walk. At least he thought he had to walk the whole way, and we lived in the country about 4 long, lonely miles from school. I followed at a distance in the van (he never noticed me), and after about three-quarters of a mile, he stopped near a creek bridge and just sat on the side of the road. After an appropriate time letting him stew, I picked him up and took him the rest of the way. I’d never seen him so glad to see me – and so willing to be ready *early* the rest of the school year!

    • Diana Beebe

      That’s awesome, Jennifer! Evil, but completely awesome! We do have to let our kids fail a little bit so they learn about life–and that they don’t want to be late. I’m so glad you stopped by. 🙂

  3. Sarah Brabazon

    I have all sorts of alarms set, starting with my own two (no snooze, two separate alarms) to get up and go for my morning walk/run, one for Flotsam and Jetsam to get out of bed, and another that tells us when we should be walking up the dock to go to school. Then I have another that tells me to stop writing and go pick them up from school. I don’t know where I’d be without my smart-phone (still in bed, probably).

    • Diana Beebe

      I agree with you. I’d be list without the smart phone alarms. Thanks for sharing your setup.

  4. Brilliant idea, Diana!

    I rarely need to set an alarm these days, as I now wake up earlier on my own. But in past years, I would set the time on my clock ahead by 10 minutes. My groggy brain wouldn’t realize it in the morning, and I’d quickly jump up, thinking I was already running late.

    • Diana Beebe

      Thanks! I used to set my clocks forward a little too. LOL. 🙂

  5. My alarm is across the room so I have to get out of bed to shut it off. By the time I get to it I’m awake and rarely go back to bed. It works for me. My boys use their snooze button on their phone almost every morning. I guess they never followed in their parents footsteps.

    • Diana Beebe

      Sometimes I put my cell phone on the far side of the night table so I have to get up to reach it. It’s a tried and true method. I tend to over sleep if I let myself hit snooze too many times. Sounds as if your sons have the snooze figured out.

  6. Great post. I’m like your daughter. Unfortunately, it never gets easier for us slow movers. This is a brilliant idea. 🙂

    • Diana Beebe

      Yep. You gotta use what tools you can. 🙂 I’m glad I don’t have to have multiple alarm clocks around the bedroom anymore.

  7. I love this post! Using the Darth Vader music is a great idea. I could’ve used this idea when my son was young.

    I’m a freak – if I’m ever late its someone else’s fault. I tend to arrive way early anywhere I go. BUT, I also snooze my alarm for a half hour. My dh hates it, but I can’t wake up on the first try. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. :/

    • Diana Beebe

      Thanks! Maybe you need a Darth Vader ringtone to startle you awake. 🙂

      I love the snooze button when I’m trying to wake up, too. It’s dangerous.

  8. Hahahaha! Brilliant plan, Diana. I’ll remember this when Grasshopper starts kindergarten! And the extra five minutes is always a good idea when dealing with kids. I love your new profile pic. Tameri did good.

    • Diana Beebe

      Thanks, Lynn! So glad I could help. Of course, I expect you to take full credit as the smartest grandmother ever! 🙂

      Tameri did a great job, didn’t she?

      Congratulations, again, on the newest granddaughter! I’m so happy for you!

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