Tuesday 5 January 2016

Nervous about 'nearly' as school restarts

It takes all kids a while to learn about time. Waiting can be difficult for the best of us. When we leave the kids with carers I use the same language to indicate how long I'm going to be away from them. 'Right back' is in a few minutes, 'soon' is an hour or so and 'later' is pretty much saying I'm going to be away all day.

I use the same language to express how long it will be till something happens, till they get a toy they've asked for or until we go home for example. This used to work well but as Anthony has got older and understood the concept of time better, these aren't always accurate enough. We started to say it was nearly time for things in an effort to be a bit more accurate but it just made things worse.

The problem was that as Anthony was good at telling the time, understood weeks and months, our terms were now too uncertain. They no longer matched up to a point in his mind calendar. This has proved a particular issue when coming back to school after the school holidays. For some reason he was better doing this during summer. After Christmas was the worst.

We figured it was because he enjoyed the holidays so we'd say it would be the holidays again soon but this didn't help. In fact Anthony had already figured out how to cope in the summer, we just hadn't realised to be able to help him after Christmas.

Anthony simply needed better help identifying when he'd next have a holiday or something special to look forward to. When he'd gone back to school in September he knew there was a holiday in October (not far away) and when we went back in November, he was telling us that Christmas would be in December. He was plotting his leave. And this allowed him to enjoy school.

It was only when my husband plotted activities on Anthony's mind timeline that he relaxed about going back to school this year. There was a Saturday out in two weeks that he was looking forward to and then in another two weeks grandparents were visiting. Then in two more weeks in was half term holidays.

Suddenly everything was fine, happy and his first day back at school was according to Anthony, "Good." Smart cookie.


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  1. This is really interesting. I struggle a lot with Tyger and time. He's only three so doesn't quite understand lengths of time yet but he also doesn't like things to be too vague. We have a visual timetable but I think we need something that covers the week because he likes to know which days are preschool days etc.


  2. I would love Hayden to be a little more like this (he is amazing as he is but, you know what I mean), transitions between school, holidays and back again are generally quite difficult. Like Nym says above, maybe I should create a better visual timetable. Thank you so much for linking up to #spectrumsunday lovely, I hope you join me again this week xx

  3. Anthony is in year 3 now. He will be 8 this year and he's beginning to mature a bit. We used to have a magnet calendar for days of the week, it worked well when he was a bit younger. Then he grew out of it a bit and the younger kids stole all the magnets too!!


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