I remember being a kid in the back of the family station wagon on the way to White Sands Beach on the Connecticut shore.
My grandparents had a beach house there, and for at least 2 weeks every summer, we would pack up the station wagon with all of our gear and head to the shore.
It was just about a 2 hour drive, but to me, as a six-year old, I had little to no concept of time.
And so, the ever-so-popular questions, "Are we there yet?", "When are we going to be there?" would start about a hour into the trip.
"Stop asking! No, we're not there yet!" my mom would bellow (yes, bellow described the tone) from the drivers seat.
And I would go back to being quiet... until it was time to ask again.
In hindsight, how could these pestering questions have been avoided to ensure that my mother would not completely lose her mind?
I could have been given opportunities to monitor the passage of time.
a watch perhaps to watch "when the big hand is on the 12"
a game to observe certain landmarks along the way
a timer to observe the countdown of the minutes
Sidebar: Even though it was the mid 1970s, there were some rudimentary tools that would have helped me in my own monitoring. I can't help but think how much less aggravated my mom would have been.
We can support kids with the passage of time in the classroom as well.
When we give kids opportunities to monitor time or give them information that they need to stay focused and attentive, it can help to alleviate anxiety, lack of concentration, and an overall concern about the unknown.
Here are a few tools to have on hand.
Visual timers (i.e. sand timers, the timer on a phone, a stop watch)
Visual schedules of what's to come next
Established routines throughout the day
As with most new experiences, kids need to be explicitly taught how to use these tools to build independence and focus.
This can be a game-changer.
And really... questions like "Are we there yet?" get old quick! Right, Mom?!?!?