Back to the Basics Part II: Time

Back to the Basics Part II: Time

Back to the Basics Part II: Time

60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day– not too confusing, right? Well, this is a concept that at times seems foreign to many of the clients I work with. Grasping the idea of time, what it is and how it works, can be exhausting. Much like my last blog post about money, time is also something that has to be practiced over and over again. The best way to practice this is to use it in REAL time.

Worksheets and flashcards are great for working on reading an analog clock– many clients I work with can do that. The real problem arises when I say, “Come back in 5 minutes,” or “You have 10 minutes left for lunch, so please comeback in the room at 1:00.” They know what 1:00 looks like, and that 10 minutes is when the big hand moves two numbers. What they don’t understand is how long ten minutes really is, or what ten minutes feels like when you’re bored compared to when you are doing something you enjoy. With this in mind, here are few simple ways I implement time work on a daily basis with my clients. Feel free to adapt these ideas to work with your schedule at home or at school.

Wearing a watch and using it– Take your child to the store, and let them pick out a watch that they can wear every day. Getting them in the habit of wearing a watch and looking at the time is a great start to understanding the concept of time.

Mapping out what is done in a 24 hour span– Make a chart or pie chart, and map out what your child does in a 24- hour span. This will help them see what they do in a day, and also show them what activities take up the most time. This also brings awareness of their daily life style, and might encourage change if you are finding too much time is being spent on electronics, for example.

Using a very simple and helpful time log– Make a chart with some simple chores, dinner time, and shower time for your child to use. Have them write down what time they start, the time they finish, and the total amount of time it took. If your kids are younger, you can help them out with reading the clock and figuring out total time; but just saying phrases like, “Wow, it took you 5 minutes to put the silverware away” will help them understand just how long 5 minutes is. Using these charts will also help out with executive functioning skills that are often very hard to grasp. Practicing these skills will give children an idea of how long certain things take, and how much time should be set aside for them.

Job Start time End time Total time
Put silverware away 10:05 10:10 5 minutes
Put clothes away 10:15 10:25 10 minutes


Estimating time– For your older kids, feel free to add a column where they can estimate how long they think a job might take. This is a great way for them to start understanding how long jobs actually take compared to what they thought.

Just like money it is important for us to make sure our kids are grasping the concept of time. In order for them to become independent and responsible, we need to make sure they are understanding the simple things that we often take for granted. Unfortunately, life revolves around time and money; and if our children don’t understand those concepts, how can we expect them to succeed in everyday living?


Written by: Salina Bisson, LLMSW

#HorizonsDRC    #TellingTime    #ChildTherapyGrandRapids    #Education


Horizons Development Resource Center serves the following areas in and around Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Caledonia, Kentwood, Middleville, Lowell, Forest Hills, Hudsonville, Walker, Holland, Zeeland, Rockford, Byron Center, Allendale, Grandville, East Grand Rapids, Wayland, Jenison, Ada, Ionia, Newaygo, Grant, Sparta, Cedar Springs, Kent City, Hamilton, Hastings in the state of Michigan and all surrounding areas.  If you are not located in or around these cities, we still may be able to help you, please contact us here with your specific need.

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