Time To Talk About Time!
I often work with kids, and adults that have problems with time and have come to believe that their problems are not so much with time, as with clocks and watches, minutes and hours. Time is not only relative, it is personal. Think of the difference of 5 minutes playing your favorite game verses 5 minutes waiting to see the dentist! One is so short as to be meaningless and one seems to last forever, on the clock the interval is exactly the same and yet emotionally they could not be more different.
For some people, the minutes and hours version of time is so difficult to comprehend that it can create huge problems. In our field these difficulties are sometimes tied to diagnoses like ADHD and Explosive Disorders, but to me, they can indicate a difference in experience that can be helped with some tools and understanding.
A few basics:
Don’t assume just because a person can TELL time means that they can MANAGE it. If you find yourself thinking “They have no idea what 5 minutes means!” They probably don’t.
Don’s assume just because a person has a watch it means that they “know” what time it is or what is expected of them at that point in time.
Don’t assume that this problem can’t be solved!
For those of us who have not internalized minutes, seconds and schedules, time and the concept of time are different and often difficult. Time becomes yet another thing some outside authority has imposed. It is not an organic and internalized function. This is wonderful if you are an artist or athlete who can disappear into your work but quite challenging for those of us that have to work or transition in school “by the clock”.
For those that struggle I propose the following solutions!
Make time visual! Not the telling of time; the passing of time. A wonderful tool for adults and kids is a visual clock. You can a collection of products at TimeTimer (http://www.timetimer.com/) This website offers tools, clocks, watches and applications for the computer that count down time in a visual format. Using pre-determined negotiated time (“We have to be out of the house in 15 minutes” or “You have a half hour left of computer time” or “This is a five minute time out”) management of that time is can be visual, and internally managed!
No more mommy count downs. It works!!!