As we run around in a frenzy completing our day to day tasks, we almost end up running against time and many mothers wish that children would do more things on time and waste less time. For children to understand what time is and the act of being on time or wasting time, it is important that they understand the concept of time.
What is time? How do we see it? Where do we see it? How do we know that time is up?
For us it is easy to understand these questions but these are concepts about time that we take for granted, and which can be confusing for a child .
The concept of time first begins in simple everyday rituals because till children cannot count, it goes without saying that they will be unable to understand what is the small hand on a clock, the big hand on a clock and when it is 2 o’clock etc. The understanding of time starts with simple everyday rituals and routines. ‘We will brush our teeth at 6, then we will have milk at 6:30, and then we will sit for a story at 7’. Children as young as 18 months can understand when you tell them what their routine is and infact kids love routine as it adds that much needed structure to their day and gives them things to look forward to. This is also good for their growing brains as brains thrive on routine and knowing what is coming next.
Singing to children songs about time, clocks and other time related concepts also helps. So when it’s time to put toys away it helps to sing the song given below. Similar songs can be sung for eating, brushing one’s teeth and other daily chores.
‘Its time to put your toys away, toys away, toys away.
Its time to put your toys away. It’s time to end our game’.
Songs and rhymes like Hickory, Dickory Dock help children understand about the existence of clocks and make them aware of them in their environment.
The next step is to make a picture clock for your child which is in the shape of a clock but instead of the numbers has pictures of his/her daily activities in the same sequence. Where number 12 usually is on the clock, paste the child’s photo and on the other numbers place pictures of the child’s routine of the day. As the time to brush the teeth approaches put the big hand on the child’s photo and the small hand of the clock on the picture of the child brushing his/her teeth and say, ‘Lets see what time it is. Oh, its time to brush your teeth.’
The concept of time is not only about teaching a child how to ‘see’ time, but is also about teaching the importance of being on time, using time well and understanding that there is a special time for everything.
- Concept of being on time– This is extremely essential. At this age children learn by imitation, so your child will learn by looking at you and noticing your habits, so be punctual!
- Using time well– Here you can use different methods, for example use visible items like a sand timer so that children can see time passing and know when there is little time left to complete the activity etc.
- Special time for everything– Just like schools have a timetable, it is important that mothers make a timetable for home and help their child display it in their room, this helps children understand routine, structure and time management!
Try out these time tested activities with your child and we guarantee that you will have the time of your life!