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Time Blindness in Children: Understanding and Strategies for Every Age

Time blindness is a very common challenge in all children
Time blindness is a very common challenge in all children

Understanding and managing time can be tough for children, not just adults. Children who have ADHD or have difficulty with cognitive and executive function skills may struggle even more with time blindness, which is the inability to understand and handle the passing of time.

It’s important to understand that time management is a skill that can be learned with practice. With the right guidance and techniques, all children can improve their ability to organise their days, although some may require more help due to additional challenges.

Time blindness is more than just struggling to be punctual; it's a chronic difficulty in understanding the passage of time for various activities.

This can result in missed deadlines, miscalculating task durations, or frequent lateness. While this is a common struggle for many individuals, those with ADHD or cognitive and executive functioning issues face even greater obstacles. Their tendency to live in the present makes it difficult to prepare for the future or reflect on past experiences.

Let’s take a look at how parents can offer this assistance to children of different ages.

Strategies for parents of children (Ages 6 – 8): Building Awareness

1. Visual Timers:

Children in this age group find visual aids helpful. Using timers that visually show time passing can make the abstract concept of time more understandable for them.

2. Establish Routines:

Daily routines serve as more than just a way to keep things in order; they also serve as educational tools to help children grasp how time progresses throughout the day.

3. Time-Telling Games: Encouraging children to play games that teach them how to read a clock can set a strong groundwork for them to develop essential time management skills in the future.

For Parents of Preteens (Ages 9-12): Developing Time Management Skills

1. Divide Tasks into Smaller Parts:

This technique is helpful for all children, especially those who may feel overwhelmed by bigger tasks because of ADHD or cognitive issues.

2. Introduce the Use of Planners:

Planners are a useful tool for children to learn how to organise their time effectively. This also encourages them to get into the habit of planning and preparing ahead, which can be especially valuable for those who find it hard to manage executive functions.

3. Teach the Importance of Prioritising: Knowing what tasks are urgent and what can be done later is a crucial skill for all children, but it can make a big difference for those who struggle with time management.

Planners to visual show time create awareness around time for children.

For Parents of Teens (Ages 13-18): Fostering Independence in Time Management

1. When it comes to digital tools, there are many apps out there that can help with productivity and time management. It can be beneficial to encourage your teen to find one that suits them, especially if they have ADHD or struggle with executive function. These tools can provide reminders and break tasks into smaller steps.

2. Self-reflection is key for teens to figure out what time management techniques work best for them. This can help them become more independent and self-aware.

3. Helping teens learn how to set and pursue long-term goals is important, especially for those who have difficulty looking beyond the present.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with time blindness can be tough, but there are effective strategies that can help. It's crucial to understand that while all children can develop these skills, those with ADHD or other cognitive and executive function difficulties may require extra assistance and understanding.

Adapting your methods to suit your child's specific needs can greatly improve their ability to manage time. Please share your successful strategies and suggestions for your family in the comments below. By working together, we can support our children in confidently navigating their daily routines.

Need more help?

Join our Facebook community! It’s a place where families like yours share tips, support, and success stories about overcoming challenges with cognitive and executive function and beyond.

Whether you need practical advice or just a bit of encouragement, our group is here to uplift and guide you.

Together, let’s empower our children to confidently navigate their days!


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