Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Sun Will Come Out.... Today?

No, this is not a post about Kirksville finally digging itself out from under our most recent 9-inch snowfall (though the past few days of sunny weather have been great; who knew 38 degrees could feel so warm?).

This is a post about time, and how difficult it seems to be for us to explain time to a preschooler. Here is a composite of many conversations that have taken place in our house recently:

"Am I going to Gus's house today?"
"Nope. Tomorrow."
"Is tomorrow today?"
"Nope. Tomorrow will be what it is when we go to sleep and wake up in the morning."
"Is it tomorrow when it gets dark outside?"
"Nope. That's tonight."
"Tonight... Is today tonight?"
"When it gets dark later today, it will be tonight."
"Is tonight tomorrow?"

And so on and so forth for several minutes, over and over. Every single day. Honestly, probably every single day with each parent. Don't even get me started about the questions identifying which day of the week it is today, and when it will be Tuesday, and what day it will be when we go to church/school/whatever special event he's looking forward to that week.

I never realized before now how very difficult it is to explain time without using other similarly-misunderstood time words. We have tried getting out a calendar, pointing to days, explaining what day it is, where tomorrow is, where Tuesday is, when he will go to church next, etc. to no avail. We have tried pointing out different times of the day, commenting on how it is now "this afternoon" or "tonight." Still nothing. It makes me wonder what Piaget would say about preschoolers' cognitive readiness for something as abstract as time (guess who I'm teaching about in my Lifespan Development class this week?)...

The end of most of these time conversations, though, usually comes down to this:

"When do I get to watch a case movie? I think I want to watch my car movie next."

What he usually wants to know is the next time he gets a full 90-minute video instead of just the 20-30 minutes of Sesame Street we limit him to on school days. It may start out with questions about when he'll see his buddies or go to school, but it usually ends with television.

Should I worry about that? Maybe I'll think about that tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. All I know is that the older you get the quicker time seems to pass. It is a delight I think to be excited about what time will bring. Like a road trip and what new view you will have around every bend in the road. The excitement of a new day or experience is what makes being a child so very special. Mom