Have you ever told your child to hurry and do not see a reaction? It is not his fault. It is because of that he doesn’t understand the concept of time. In this article, we explain about understanding the concept of time by the child. In the following you will learn the right way for talking to the child to make him understand your meaning.

Neglecting the time by children is not a sign for showing that they are impolite

Have you ever woke up late in the morning and told your child hurry up and go to school, but see no reaction from him? Or, for example, have you ever be in a hurry and asked him to do his work earlier, but you see that there is no change in the child behavior and he is doing the things as usual?

Some parents become angry, upset, or surprised at this moment and think their child fights with them, or they don’t want to go to school or ignore their parents’ words. While it is not true. This behavior is due to the incomplete understanding the concept of time by the child.

How is the understanding the concept of time by children?

How is the understanding the concept of time by children?
Understanding the concept of time is not similar to adults

Understanding the concept of time by the children is completely different from parents understanding about time and opportunity. The children do not have any understanding about time and duration, and the difference between the thirty seconds, ten minutes and an hour is unclear to them. Children from the age of 4 to 5 years later begin to understand the concept of time. Of course, understanding the concept of time by the child requires time and this understanding is completed over time.

You can recognize the reasons for children behavior and neglect by knowing that what you have in your mind about time is much wider and different from what the child has in his mind. Hurry and wait for children are not clear concepts. Children understand the situations by their parent’s behavior.

Sometimes a child understanding about time, waiting, and … is summarized in a word: “when.” It means that the child can understand the same sentence: “When you woke up”, “When the daddy came home” or “When we went shopping”. So, do not expect more from your child to understand the concept of time. For example, if you tell him: “Yesterday, last week, tomorrow, half an hour, next three months …” In the minds of a 2 or 3 year old child, these are ambiguous concepts that have not formed in his mind.

So when you tell him: “wait for half an hour I will give you food”, he continues to cry or starts nagging. Because the child doesn’t have any picture of waiting, and the past and future are ambiguous and unknown to him. So you can begin a series of introductory trainings for understanding the concept of time by the child.

Introductory trainings for understanding the concept of time by the child

Introductory trainings for understanding the concept of time by the child
training should be done simply to be understood by the child

For teaching the time intervals to the children and help them understand the concept of time, you should consider the child’s age and choose the type of trainings and the words to use. Because time is not something that can be touched and sensed by the child, its training should be done simply to be understood by the child.

Children at age 3 are still unfamiliar with the concept of the past and the near future, and they only understand the words “before” and “after”. For example, the sentence “First we eat, then we play” is understandable to the child.  At age 4, he does not understand the time interval well, so the sentence “we will eat lunch for 1 hour later” is not understandable to the child, and it is better to say: “When daddy come, we all eat lunch.” As another example, the sentence “We go to the grandmother’s house after shopping” is more understandable for him than the sentence “We go to grandmother’s house a few hours later.”

By going to the kindergarten and getting familiar with the seasons and their changes, and paying attention to the parents announcing the clock, understanding the concept of time by the child becomes more complete.

۵ simple solution to increase the understanding the concept of time by the child

In the following, there are 5 simple and practical solutions to increase the understanding the concept of time by the child.

۱- Simplifying the concept of time

One of the methods for teaching children is to show them a complex concept like time in a simplified and objective way. For example, you can use your fingers to show the clock and passing the time by lowering the number of your finger.

۲- Teaching the time intervals with signs

You can take his hand at different times and show him the day’s changes. For example, to teach him the concept of the night, you can tell him: “When the stars are coming out, it is night” Or to make the child understand what you mean by the “evening”, you can say this: “In the evenings, the weather is cool and we can go to the park.” So when you go to the park, the child realizes that it is evening.

۳- Making a special calendar for the child

3- Making a special calendar for the child
Create a special calendar for a child

Creating a special calendar for a child is very helpful. You can show the days of the week by different colors. Use the child’s favorite stickers appropriate to the special days for indicating birthdays, holidays, celebrations or parties, and teach the child to count the remaining days or tick them to guess his specific day and wait for it.

۴- Making a Counting Chain

Creating a counting chain can also be an attractive idea. Create a chain of colored rings with some colored paper and glue. Specify the child’s interest day in a different and beautiful color, and attach the chain to the wall of his room. The child can pull a ring by passing each day. This kind of waiting for the special day is more attractive and simpler.

۵- Using educational books

A book in any field can help you. Understanding the concept of time becomes clearer for the children by providing the related books about day and time and read them for the child.

To teach a child how to wait, for example, to give birth to a new sister or brother, instead of saying that “your sister or brother will be born 7 months later,” you can say: “When the weather becomes cold and snowy, the little baby will be born, “Or” In the summer when you wear short sleeves, your little sister or brother will be born.”

Along with all the trainings, your expectation from your child should be in harmony with his growing process and you should be patient. Understanding the concept of time by the 1-8 year old child may be different from you. So do not blame your child if his behavior with time is different from you.

Farshid Pakzat Research Group

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