Time is an abstract, philosophical concept, it cannot be touched or seen, but it can be sensed and realized through a consistent chain of events and actions. Even in ancient times, constantly repeating cycles of the movement of celestial bodies, natural phenomena, tides and ebbs introduced stability and predictability into the daily life of people.
The idea of a person about time, that it is cyclical, was later expressed in the form of round hours, the hand of which moves along one trajectory. On this dial you can see both the future and the past.
Rhythms in the life of a baby are present literally from the moment of conception – already in the womb, the child begins to perceive the first rhythms. The beating of the mother’s heart, like the “ticking” of the clock, lays the foundation for the formation of the baby’s own biorhythm. Biological rhythms are the basis of time perception.
The standard of its measurement is the beat of the human heart (1 second – 1 beat), which is the most constant and stable unit. This rhythm is unquestioningly accepted by all people, and the unborn baby also perceives it.
Immediately after being born, the child begins to feel the rhythms of his physiological existence: a heartbeat, an alternation of hunger and satiety, sleep and wakefulness. In some kids, the “internal clock” is set fairly easily, children quickly get used to a certain daily routine. If the parents did not offer them a regime of feeding and sleep, they develop it themselves.
Other children, on the contrary, have complete chaos inside, and they just need the structure proposed from the outside, which will become for them a certain guarantee of the predictability and constancy of the external world.
There is only a moment … Infants do not perceive time at all. For them there is neither tomorrow nor yesterday, they live with sensations of what bothers them at this particular second.
If the baby is warm in the hands of the mother and he feels comfort, his consciousness suggests that this circumstance will never change. But when the baby is bad – the tummy hurts, it is wet, cold, there is no mother, just this feeling exists for the baby as well.
And he cannot imagine that his mother just went out and in a minute would come back with a bottle of warm milk and take him in her arms. The child is full of fear and loneliness, and for him there is no “in a minute”.
The concept of time for a baby begins with the appearance of the past. The past comes along with the memory. The unconscious bodily memory that occurs in a baby before birth keeps everything that happened to him from the moment of conception in the form of strange and often absurd images and sensations.
The ability to memorize objects of the external world (objects, people, animals) begins to appear at the age of 4–5 months. First, the picture of the surrounding reality is very unstable; moreover, the baby’s brain does not preserve the image of what is happening.
However, by the year these images become distinct, and the child gradually adapts to the rhythm of life not only during the day, but also during the week.
Formed by the perception of the present, based on past events that have already occurred with the baby. The child begins to remember that similar situations already occurred in his life: he woke up alone in a crib, started crying, and mother came … changed his clothes, and then started feeding … if dad left the room, then he returned. The kid remembers something from the past, but the memory is still vague, it is difficult to rely on it.
There is a feeling of repetition, but the baby cannot yet foresee any of these events again.
By the age of two, the child begins to understand the words “soon” and “later” well; a year will pass and the baby will begin to operate with such concepts as “yesterday” and “tomorrow”, although children may confuse the words themselves for a while, but the meaning that they put into them is unmistakably caught.
Few of the children of three or four years will tell you something like “I was at sea with my mother in July,” “on Saturday I will go with my dad to the circus.” Rather, he will say: “It was when I was traveling by train and my mother bought me a blue circle,” “it will be when my father decorates the Christmas tree.”
In a child, time is always associated with some kind of incident, deed. Awareness of time is laid through the cases that happened to him, through the places in which he was, and especially through rhythmic activity.
By the age of three, the child has an awareness of the stability of his daily life, anticipation of familiar events (if there is, of course, a clear daily routine, and not chaos). By this time, the child has already gained considerable experience in dealing with time, he can easily imagine the duration of the majority of the usual actions that he experienced many times (sleep, bathing, walking).
These household indicators are for the child the first reference points in time. At this age, it is already easier for him to adequately respond to my mother’s phrases, “I will come for you in the evening,” “we will go to her grandmother tomorrow.”
But even at this age, if a clear experience of repetitions is not formed, then, once in a new situation, children experience genuine fear and anxiety. For example, parting in a manger turns into a great tragedy at first, and the first stays in the garden are accompanied by severe stress and a sense of “abandonment.” The beliefs of the mother that the child will not be forgotten that they will return for him, weakly convince.
Anxiety will persist for some period of time, until a forecast of future events is formed, emanating multiple confirmations from the past: “Mom always comes at the time of the evening walk”.
That the future does exist, the baby is aware of it during this period. This is the main, fundamental discovery.
The complexity of perception of the future lies in the fact that it is not. Rather, it is, but only in our imagination.
The appearance of the future as a temporal perspective helps a child to come to terms with many of the realities of today’s life, which adults express with phrases like “Mom will be back soon,” “Summer will come and you will again see Aunt Katya.” In addition, the future helps to represent the patterns of the flow of life and see yourself in this flow, make plans, anticipate, dream, set goals: “Santa Claus will come again”, “Gifts and a cake will be your birthday”, “Let’s go to the sea in summer”.
As well as the future, time helps both adults and children to wait and hope: “You will get some rest, and you will succeed”; “You will grow up and learn to ride a bike.”
Of course, first the nearest future appears in the child’s mind (in three years, “summer” and “growing up” are concepts that are too abstract). It will take the baby quite a lot of time to figure out remote events.
Words demanding the passage of time – the days of the week, the seasons, the months, the concepts of “day-night”, “morning-evening” require special assimilation. To do this, giving some explanations to the child, include in them several definitions to help him understand which period is being said: “We will go for a walk with you at three o’clock after lunchtime”, “Dad will be back from work in the evening when you go swimming ”,“ We will go to bed at 9 o’clock, when the transfer of “Good night, kids” is over.
Try to tie all temporary concepts to familiar life events.
At about five years old, the child begins to really imagine some of the prospects for his life, is fairly free to deal with time and is already fully capable of planning the next events.
Scientists of neurophysiology have established that a fully adequate idea of what “time” is, is formed only by the age of 17–18. It is at this age that your child will have the final formation of those parts of the brain that are responsible for temporary concepts.
Therefore, you should not be angry and sad if your child doesn’t quite understand the warnings like “we have to leave home in fifteen minutes”. It is likely that the child himself, promising to play “just a minute”, will play afterwards for a whole “hour”.
Some parents consider it necessary to teach the child to determine the time by the hour. Their conviction is based on their own experience, because their personal life is completely subordinated to a strict schedule, a specific amount of time is allotted for any business.
But as for the child, for him the ability to determine the time by the clock is completely irrelevant. Up to seven years old, unless a baby is mathematically gifted, he is unlikely to be able to adequately define such a philosophical concept as time. First, this requires a developed abstract thinking, which by this age is still being formed.
And secondly, this is not even necessary, because while the child is small, it is taken care of by adults. That’s what parents are to follow when it’s time to sleep, when you need to have lunch, and when it’s time to go for a walk.
Parents plan the baby’s affairs for the upcoming week, fix for the story excerpts from the baby’s past (taking photos and recordings in memorable albums). That they care about the past and the future.
It’s enough for a kid to live in the present, he always has it now. A small child does not have the necessary experience to build his behavior, relying on the causality of events, analyzing the consequences of certain actions.
The time will come, and the child will learn to look at himself from the outside through the prism of personal analysis and the results of his own actions. In the meantime, we, the parents, can help the baby to see the consequences, learn to foresee them: “You put the cup on the edge of the table, so she fell,” “We slept with you, so we need to get together quickly,” “Let’s build again, but now let’s not rush. ”
Teach your child to imagine what “five minutes” is or what “hour” is and how they differ. Not literally by the hour, but at the level of temporary sensations, because it is so important to understand what it means to “go out in five minutes”, “pick you up in an hour.”
Put a real alarm clock in the child’s room, preferably with a second hand, try to figure out what can be done in a second (jump, clap your hands), and what can be done in a minute (while the second hand makes a full turn). Suggest the child to detect how much time is spent on the road to the kindergarten, in the section.
How long does the baby brushing his teeth? And how long did he draw a picture, eat porridge or build a tower?
Introduce the kid with different types of watches (electronic, mechanical, sand). Tell us where the sun wakes up and how it moves across the sky during the day, how it goes to sleep and where it hides in the evening. When you are out of town, pay attention to the starry night sky (be sure that children rarely see the starry sky, because they have to go to bed so early, and in the big metropolis you will not see the stars at all).
Tell us that the stars and constellations also move in the celestial dome, like the Sun and the Moon, they are in one place, and in another in the summer.
Pay attention to the child that time perception is very subjective, since it depends on what the baby is doing at the moment. Let the pussy just sit for three to five minutes, looking at the minute hand, and now offer him five minutes to watch his favorite cartoon.
What time will fly faster? But in the first and second cases, the same amount of time has passed.
Open this secret to him and tell me how you can use it. So the kid will understand that the time may be different, and learn how to occupy himself with something interesting, when he is waiting for his mom from work or is waiting in line for a doctor.