By Claudia Quigg
Time drags for kids who don’t have awareness of the passing days. While seasons rush by in a blur for busy adults, young children may feel that winter lasts forever.
Most adults will recall the time in their lives when a school year seemed like a lifetime, and a summer was an eternity. Remember how rich you felt in early June with a long string of summer days reaching out before you? But now you know that even in June, autumn will be here before you know it and you’d better get ready for another cold season to follow. Our sense of timing changes dramatically across our life span.
Young children live in the moment, for good and for bad. Their engagement in that moment gives them the focus they need to wring every bit of learning out of it. Their years are like dog years to them, each day packed full of living.
Over the years, children build perspective about the mysterious passage of time we all experience.
Parents can give kids a sense of control over time by talking about events to come. Hearing about the day ahead at breakfast helps a child manage it better than living each moment unsure of what will happen next.
Likewise, parents can talk about events in the weeks to come. While the concept of time measurement is still tricky for children younger than school age, they can know that Molly is coming to play sometime in the future.
One young dad shared that he’s learned a few days of anticipation is all his two-year-old can handle. He now knows to wait until a little closer to events to let her excitement peak.
Building their perspective of time is one way our children grow to feel competent as they develop a picture of how each day fits into the progress of their lives.
And one day, they’ll look back gratefully at the patient teaching of their loving parents during those long years that now seem to have passed in the blink of an eye.