Helping kids learn life lessons can be like guiding them through a maze, especially when they're young. For parents, it can be a big challenge, too, especially when tackling complex topics. Teaching about patience is one of those – it's a matter of connecting the dots between time and learning to wait.
This is where books come in handy because they help introduce complex notions in meaningful and engaging ways. The book, that we luckily stumbled upon was Five Minutes: (That's a Lot of Time) (No, It's Not) (Yes, It Is) by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick. It is a one-of-a-kind, laugh-out-loud picture book, perfect for any kid who has ever begged or bemoaned, "Please, just five more minutes?!"
Without a doubt, families everywhere will see themselves in this clever and absolutely charming book. Is five minutes a long time? Well, that depends on what you're up to! The book captivates you to join a little boy and his family on a bustling day, where he realizes that sometimes five minutes can feel like an eternity – such as when you're wrapping up at the dentist's office, waiting for the bathroom, or enduring a lengthy car ride. On the flip side, sometimes five minutes can slip away in a blink – like when you're engrossed in your favorite game, reaching the peak of a roller coaster, or cozying up with a bedtime story.
It's on this lively stage that we can make use of the bold and vibrant illustrations by Olivier Tallec and guide young minds through the delightful yet perplexing dance of time, teaching our children the importance of patience and the art of savoring the joyous moments before they scamper away like playful companions in a timeless game.
Parents can help instill the valuable concept of patience concerning time in a meaningful way by linking the book's theme to real-life situations that you experience in everyday life. For instance, having your child think about waiting for their birthday. It's like time slows down, and the days feel so long because they can't wait to unwrap those presents. On the contrary, having them think about the times when they're having a blast with their friends, playing games and laughing, time flies by, and suddenly it's time to go home. To make it somewhat comprehendible, understanding time is a bit like figuring out the rules. Sometimes you have to be patient, like waiting for your turn on the swings, and other times, you need to appreciate the fun moments before they're over, just like enjoying a great game with your friends.
Here are some supplemental activities to strengthen your child's understanding, of the important lessons from the book Five Minutes.
Visual Aids: Create a visual representation of the concept of time using a clock or timer. Set it for five minutes and engage in activities mentioned in the book (or any other) during that time. This hands-on approach can help children grasp the duration of five minutes in a tangible way.
Create a Time Journal: Help your children create a simple journal where they can note instances when they experienced impatience or had to wait patiently. Discuss these moments together, emphasizing the connection between time and patience.
Practical Toolkit: Plan activities that require waiting, such as baking cookies that need time to bake or growing a plant from seeds. Connect these activities back to the concept of patience and the passing of time.
Patience Test: Choose activities that naturally require patience, such as waiting in line or taking turns, and discuss how the concept of time applies to these situations. Reinforce the idea that patience is needed in various aspects of life.
Umm Ahmed is an early childhood educator and mother of three boys. Always on the quest to learn, she is passionate about seeking knowledge and passing it on to others. A writer in the making, she draws inspiration through deep conversations, laws of nature, and her own children. She and her family are currently living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.