ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Parent vs. Child Perception of Time

Updated on February 28, 2013

I was getting my kids ready for school one day when I asked my son to put his shoes on. “In a minute!”, he replied. My daughter immediately spoke up with, “Is that a regular minute or a Mario minute?”. She was referring to all the times he has said, “In a minute” while playing his Nintendo DS. Those minutes invariably turn into 30-minute intervals. Children’s perception of time often differs from an adult’s perception of time, and understanding the difference and how to deal with it can help make a stressful situation a little more serene.

  • Time Passes More Slowly for Children

Children's brains are very active, soaking up information constantly. The world is full of new and exciting developments and objects. Each minute is perceived acutely, and time seems to drag by at a snail's pace. Think back to a summer day when you were a child. You probably wake up, eat your breakfast, then run to get your shoes on. As you head for the door, you might hear your mother shout, "Don't forget to be home before dark". As you head out into the world, you notice the insects crawling on the sidewalk, and you stop to inspect further. You notice how the insect walks and watch as it picks up a scrap of food. You eventually carry on and meet your friend. As you play ball, you notice each nuance of the game. You spend an eternity playing and exploring. The day lasts forever. This is the child's perception of time.

Adults, however, are often surprised at how fast time flies by. In general, adults still gauge the duration of seconds, minutes and hours fairly accurately. The distortion comes when adults try to gauge time that has gone by - the previous months or years, for example. Part of the reason for this is that, as adults, life brings us fewer new, exciting stimuli and more routines and habits. Because we have fewer new memories to measure how much time has passed, an average month that doesn't seem important in your memory bank provides the illusion that time has shrunk.

Measure Your Perception of Time

  • Click one of the numbers in the center circle on this website to gauge your perception of the passage of time.

  • How to Slow Down the Passage of Time

Sometimes adults don't want time to slow down. Studies report that time goes slower when we do something we hate to do, when we are depressed, when we're sick, or when we feel rejected. However, at times when you want time to pass more slowly, there are some tips and tricks to make that happen.

  1. Make sure you have new experiences often. Don't spend your evenings sitting in front of the TV. Do something new.
  2. Live in the "Now". Do you spend most of time time thinking about the future or the past? Be in the present and focus on what you're doing each minute.
  3. Do something you love to do. Doing things you love to do can help you remember time more clearly when you look back on it.

  • Dealing with the Difference

As a parent, how many times have you heard the dreaded phrase, "I'm bored!"? While parents often find an extra 10 minutes to mean, "Thank goodness - I get a little break", ten minutes to your child can often mean, "I need something fun to do!". Just knowing that your kids perceive time differently can go a long way to quelling tension. It's still necessary to teach your kids patience, but it also might help to have something for them to do nearby. I spent an hour one day surfing the internet and copying hundreds of activities my kids could do - arts, crafts, science experiments, etc. I pasted each one into Microsoft Word, then printed out the 300-page book and titled it the "Mom, I'm Bored! book". I gave one to each child and told them that, if they ever want to tell me they're bored, they would have to pick up this book and find themselves an activity to do. It ended the dreaded, "Mom, I'm bored" that I used to hear repeatedly.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)