Monday, October 10, 2011

Tip 43 - Well, It's About Time!

“Mom, are we there yet?” This standard plea is pretty typical of young children because they have no real concept of time. Time is a very important concept from the pre-school years all the way through adolescence.. From understanding past, present and future, telling time;  developing plans for everything from a birthday party, or budgeting time for homework and school assignments to planning for college – all of these activities require an understanding and appreciation of time.  Time is studied in such diverse scientific domains  as understanding the timing of brain activity to the way physicists explain distance in the universe.  Helping your child think about time, tell time, use words and word endings  that describe time, plan, budget and organize time will all serve your child well in school and social life. Below are some suggestions for helping your child understand and use time successfully.
Preschool – ages 3 to 5The Shoe-Box Game  - appreciating the language and grammar of time
Take three shoe boxes and ask your child to decorate them with crayons or markers. One will be the “We did it box”, one the "We are doing box" and one the "we are going to do box". Your and your child can draw pictures  about trips you took or are going to take, places you visited or want to visit, or photos of people who are visiting now, came to visit or will visit. Anything that happened before now can go in the "we did it box". When you put pictures or objects in the boxes stress the words and grammatical endings that describe what you “did," "are doing" or "plan to do." Examples of good past tense  and future tense words are below.

       ·         Remember when we went to the park, visited the zoo, had a picnic at the beach?
       ·         Last week (month) (year) we did ________, what should we do now
       ·         Yesterday, Once upon a time, awhile ago
  • Let's go ___________
  • Next week (month) (year) we will ________
  • Tomorrow, in awhile, soon, in the future

Late preschool and early school age – ages 5-7 Calendar activities – Days, months and years
Think about how important your Outlook calendar and “to-do” lists are in your life. You can start your child thinking about how time can be used to plan for the future, record a job well done, and anticipate a coming event by posting a large wall calendar in your child’s room where he can make pictures or write simple words to denote special events or accomplishments. Make the calendar a ritual part of each day (perhaps before bed each night) with a discussion of something important that happened or is going to happen. Count ahead to the number of days until the next holiday, or someone’s birthday, or a special occasion.
Elementary school – ages 7-11 Time Budgets
Ability to use our time efficiently is what distinguishes successful adults in the workforce. You can help your school-age child develop this executive function by using a date timer to plan everything from how long it might take to bake holiday cookies on a Saturday afternoon to how long each homework assignment will take. Practice making these plans together at first then see how your child begins to think about time planning in other activities. Some examples of non-school-related activities that you and your child can plan together are:
·         Invitations, shopping and decorating for a birthday party
·         Holiday shopping
·         Designing and making a Halloween costume
·         Building a tree house
·         Painting a bedroom

Middle and High School – ages 12 – 17 Timelines and Rewards

Teens are notorious for procrastination and having difficulty learning to respect schedules and deadlines.  This is due, in large part, to the waxing and waning of the development of the frontal lobe. By building in rewards for deadlines met, projects accomplished on time or stepwise progression toward goals, big projects do not seem so overwhelming to a teen.
·         If there is a science project due in a month, it is much easier to think about it in five or six parts, with each  part due in a few days. 
·         Breaking a major paper  or report down into time-based steps or sections is also helpful  -
o   Introduction -  Friday
o   Main section - Tuesday
o    Last section - Thursday
o   Final editing - Thursday night
·         Build in a reward for each deadline met – an hour of television or video-games; points toward a special event (a rock concert or a pizza party)
IT’S ABOUT TIME! Understanding and managing time effectively is one major way to assure your child’s success in school, sports, and social life. Start when your child is young and continue to emphasize as your child gets older. It will help your child with almost every aspect of life because you will be building dependability and goal setting

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