Perceptions of Time: Parent Vs. Child

I’ve noticed that time is a bit warped for my toddler. I remember being a kid and feeling like summer lasted a mere week, the school year dragged on nearly forever, and each day felt like it contained more than 24 hours.

Being an adult means most things move fast; some days I really feel like we’re going ludicrous speed … maybe even to plaid.

But since I’ve become a parent … let’s just say I’ve discovered some things still crawl along.

2 months of school left:

  • Parent: “Oh boy, summer is coming SO QUICKLY! What will do after school ends?!”
  • Child: “Ugh, when will summer be here?!”

15 minutes of playtime left before bedtime:

  • Parent: “Holy sh*&, is there any way I can put them to bed early? This feels like forever!”
  • Child: “Waaaaah, I need more time to play!!”

45 minutes until my husband comes home from work:

  • Parent: “Oh God, will this day ever end? We’d better not have another tantrum erupt or I’m going to lose my chickens….
  • Child: “Ooh, ooh, daddy’s going to be here soon! I want to play airplane with him. Can you put me up in an airplane? He’ll be right here!”

3 days until a trip to grandma and grandpa’s house:

  • Parent: “Gotta make sure we have enough food for the trip and do we have enough milk to make the drive and yikes I need to do laundry before I can even think about packing the kids’ clothes and oh goodness I need to run a white load or no one will have clean socks and did I remember to pick up wine to bring for them or was there something around here they left last time they visited?”
  • Child: “Why is it so many days until we go to grandma and grandpa’s house? Are we leaving tomorrow to go to grandma and grandpa’s house? Can I wear my polka dot dress at their house? How many days until we get to leave for grandma and grandpa’s house?”

What have I missed? Does your house clock run differently for your kids as well?


15 thoughts on “Perceptions of Time: Parent Vs. Child

  1. Usually, by the time we sit down for supper, I realize that we’ll never have time for a bath if I want to get the kids down for bed at a reasonable time. For me “yikes 30 min to bedtime and we haven’t even finished our meal yet” means “oh yeah, 30 minutes! We’ll have time to have our bath and play downstairs and read a million books before going to bed”.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, yep, I usually skip the bath when I have to choose between that and a story. Then, when I realize that they haven’t taken a bath for a few days in a row (bad mommy!) I bring them in the shower with me so I don’t look like a totally clueless parent.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally. Unpredictable regularly takes 2 hours to eat a meal. And if I say “we’re going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in six months,” she’ll say, “Then I won’t eat my candy ’cause I want to save it for the trip! I’ll go put my toys in the car right now!” But she will watch the clock and refuse to get ready for bed until right at the moment of bedtime.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Haha, yes!! R seems to think that daddy and I get all sorts of fun alone time to eat ice cream and watch tv (I do run for those two things whenever the opportunity presents!), whereas in reality we’re lucky if we have 30 minutes to talk and indulge at the end of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh absolutely!! In reality the only time we do eat ice cream is after the kids are in bed (whoops). My toddler still thinks we go to bed right after we put her to sleep! Yet miraculously laundry gets washed and other things get fixed overnight… it’s a miracle…


  4. Ha! I remember when my husband used to drive in for work (he works from home now), how that last hour or so would feel like an eternity.

    Little Man has no concept of time. I can tell him, “You’ve got 10 minutes until it’s time to get ready for bed” and ten minutes later he’s shocked that it’s bedtime and is super upset.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right?!

      Isn’t that the truth? I give “a few minute” and one minute warnings to my daughter before we do something, but I might as well have said ANY number of minutes. It’s also a huge leap for her to understand tomorrow, today, and yesterday (let alone things like “last week” or “in one month”!!), and mostly she doesn’t associate events with them correctly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s such an abstract concept at that age. (Or any age with ADHD, it seems.) My toddler usually understands when I tell her we’re doing XYZ in five minutes, but anything beyond that, nope.

        Liked by 1 person

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