Christmas soon: teach children to wait

Christmas soon: teach children to wait

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"How many Christmas dodos?" Often ask children from the beginning of December. Because even very small, they feel the atmosphere of joyous excitement that reigns before the holidays. Here's how to help them understand the passing of time.

Why is the notion of time complicated for children?

  • Because unlike the cold, the heat, the hunger, the time is not perceived by a particular sense. The notion of time passes by an education, by a cognitive elaboration, even if we like all the mammals, we have a rhythm of life related to the light, and to the alternation day / night.
  • It is us parents who begin to inculcate the notion of time to our children, first by teaching them little by little to sleep at night, and to be awake and active during the day; then waking them to go to the nanny or school, eating at regular hours. All these social rhythms allow the child to gradually develop the notion of time.

How do children apprehend the passage of time?

  • It depends of course on their age. Until around 3 years old, they especially have the notion of the rhythm day / night. Then they find out about what a week is like. Afterwards, birthdays, Christmas, New Year's Day, allow them to apprehend longer durations than are the months, the years. The younger the children, the longer the time seems to them and it is normal: one year for a child of 6 years, it is a sixth of his life!

But the month of December and the approach of Christmas make them all more impatient, why?

  • Because they feel this excitement in the air, hear about Santa Claus and the preparations and the smaller they are, the less likely they are to know when this thing they are waiting will happen! Children are all the more impatient because they have a vague notion of time! So, the time seems longer!

Odile Amblard

To read also: How to help them wait until Christmas?