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Understanding the concept of time by child

Understanding the concept of time by child

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 forshowing that they are impolite

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

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

How is the understanding the concept of time bychildren?

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 iscompletely different from parents understanding about time and opportunity. Thechildren do not have any understanding about time and duration, and thedifference between the thirty seconds, ten minutes and an hour is unclear tothem. Children from the age of 4 to 5 years later begin to understand theconcept of time. Of course, understanding the concept of time by the childrequires time and this understanding is completed over time.

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

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

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

Introductory trainings for understanding the conceptof 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 andhelp them understand the concept of time, you should consider the child’s age andchoose the type of trainings and the words to use. Because time is notsomething that can be touched and sensed by the child, its training should bedone simply to be understood by the child.

Children at age 3 are still unfamiliar with theconcept of the past and the near future, and they only understand the words“before” and “after”. For example, the sentence “Firstwe eat, then we play” is understandable to the child.  At age 4, he does not understand the timeinterval 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 daddycome, we all eat lunch.” As another example, the sentence “We go tothe grandmother’s house after shopping” is more understandable for himthan the sentence “We go to grandmother’s house a few hours later.”

By going to the kindergarten and getting familiar withthe seasons and their changes, and paying attention to the parents announcingthe clock, understanding the concept of time by the child becomes morecomplete.

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

In the following, there are 5 simple and practicalsolutions 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 showthem a complex concept like time in a simplified and objective way. Forexample, you can use your fingers to show the clock and passing the time bylowering the number of your finger.

۲- Teaching the time intervals with signs

You can take his hand at different times and showhim the day’s changes. For example, to teach him the concept of the night, youcan tell him: “When the stars are coming out, it is night” Or to makethe 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.” Sowhen 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 veryhelpful. You can show the days of the week by different colors. Use the child’sfavorite stickers appropriate to the special days for indicating birthdays,holidays, celebrations or parties, and teach the child to count the remainingdays 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 attractiveidea. Create a chain of colored rings with some colored paper and glue. Specifythe child’s interest day in a different and beautiful color, and attach thechain 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 conceptof time becomes clearer for the children by providing the related books aboutday and time and read them for the child.

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

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

Farshid Pakzat Research Group