Really, how long is 5 minutes?

The value of time???

I was noticing today how skewed an impression of time I must be giving the kids. It was a busy day and our last stop was to visit friends we hadn’t seen in a while. I kept saying it would be a short visit. We wouldn’t be able to stay long. You know that kind of routine.

By the time we said our hellos, sat outside a bit, hung out inside a bit, took a washroom break and said our goodbyes, our short 15 minute visit was an hour long. After our outside time when we went inside I said to the kids it would be about 5 minutes. I had a view of the clock and as the mom and I chat while the kids played I watched the minutes tick on and saw a good 20 minutes pass by.

So what am I teaching the kids about the perception of time? I have noticed this kind of scene before where I say 5 minutes and it ends up being at least 20. I am ready to leave, the kids aren’t and then by the time they are I am not anymore (and I know Thomas would point out they are just learning this from me).

Thomas doesn’t get into these time games with the kids but I have noticed that his perception of time and mine are different. If he says he will do x ‘right now’ I understand that could mean 20 minutes from now. ‘Soon’ can mean 45 minutes.

For me I see I need to become more in line with what I am saying and doing. If I am giving the kids all kinds of warnings about when we will be leaving perhaps I should be realistic in those warnings. Even if I say ‘in a little while’ I should at least make the commitment to myself how long that will be and attempt to stick with it.

This is similar to our getting out of the house. I don’t generally put a time on it to the kids (but do to myself). But I do often remember things last minute. I’m getting ready to go and then I remember to do one thing. I’m almost ready to go out the door and then remember to do another thing. I get out the door and then go back inside to do one more thing. I remember a quick phone call that needs to be made now.

Not sure what this is all about but I know with this awareness attached to it I can clean up my punctuality act a bit more. The thing with punctuality is that it’s with the kids that I am not on time. They are the ones that are suffering. I would like to give them a better example of working with time!


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