Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Time with a four year old

Time is tricky to learn.  I don't just mean learning to tell time on a clock, but learning about time in all of its forms.

As an adult, I don't really remember a time before I understood time.  I remember that by the time I was six or seven, I could read a clock (days before digital clocks were widespread) and I remember being very proud of using big phrases like "day before yesterday."

However, having had small children for the last 13 years, I see things through their eyes and watch as they learn to communicate thoughts and ideas through words.  Time is a difficult concept for a young child.

Anything that happened in the past to my 4 year old, whether it was yesterday, last week or last year, is always called "last night" by her.  So she will say to me, "Remember last night when we were in New Mexico and we dumped all the toys in the living room?"  That was 10 months ago.  "Remember last night when I turned four and we had a rainbow cake?"  (six months ago)

My favorite from my four year old is, "When I was a little girl...."

I told her that tonight the teenagers are coming over for improv night.  She says to me, "Tonight is today!"  When we make the treat that will be served after improv practice is over, she will ask for some and I'll tell her that it is for tonight and she will say, "but tonight is today!" and then she can't understand why she can't have a treat at that moment.

An hour can pass like a minute and a minute can feel like an hour. She loves to read the clock, but just doesn't understand why when the little hand is on the seven and the big hand is on the two is it not 7:02?

My youngest son's birthday is the next in our family, but it isn't until November.  Peanut keeps asking if it is his birthday yet.  Why not?  It's the next one!  How do you explain minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years to a four year old?  You really can't.  It is something that she will learn over time....

Time is very, very tricky.


Linnea said...

Your 4-year-old sounds adorable!

I enjoyed this post. I often wish we lived close enough to have lunch together, Molly!!

Molly said...

I wish we did too Linnea!