The Concept of Time and How it Affects Children
I work toward helping children of all ages with their issues. Parent often bring their children to see me about time management problems, otherwise known as he/she doesn’t listen’ and ‘won’t do things when I ask them to’ or forgetfulness.
As I delve further into the issue, I learn that parents will give their children instructions such as “be home in a half hour”, or “you can play for another 10 minutes and then come to dinner”. To parents’ dismay, the children are not home on time and still playing well after the 10 minutes is up.
The real problem is not that a child is being contrary, it is that children do not subscribe to the concept of time. Time is an adult human concept; children, animals, the universe and indeed many cultures do not subscribe to time. Time is a concept devised for the convenience of humans by humans. In hypnotherapy, for example, one can self-heal easily when the concept of time is set aside -there is no past, present and future; there is only the now, which is where children live.
In addition, children do not have the mental capacity to understand the concept of time because it involves future, not something they are yet equipped to deal with. Two other concepts they are unable to grasp fully enough to consider future events in the context adult expect, are consequence and danger. This is why insurers are reluctant to insure drivers under 20 years of age and when they do the premiums are very high.
A child does not have the necessary experience with time to have a feeling that X number of minutes have passed. Additionally, children are designed to focus entirely on the ‘now’ – this very moment. Multi-tasking is not within the realm of their abilities yet. It is not until many years of experience and development have passed can children put time into the context necessary to satisfy adults.
Avoid asking the child to take on any task requiring a focus on the future and on the concept of time, as he is entirely not yet developed mentally to meet your demands. Instead, provide him a watch or show him a clock, if he is familiar with numbers and clocks, and point out what you want him to do when a certain hand gets to a certain place on the clock. For those children under six who are not yet familiar with clocks, simply help them put their toys away when it’s time to do so. This is far less stressful on everyone and certainly more rewarding for the child.
For more tips on child/parent relationships, I invite you to visit my website: www.graceplacewellness.ca .