Explaining Time To Kids

My girls love their cousin Sydney. Sydney is exactly 1 month older than they are, and they are all best friends. If the girls don’t see Syd every day they start asking when they can see her, and she does the same to my sister.


Mia, Sydney, and Lila – BFFs forever

So when my family made their annual camping trip to King’s Canyon this past week (we decided to vacation somewhere else this year), the girls and Syd had a fit over being separated for a week. Sydney asked if the girls could go with them (of course I said yes enthusiastically and my sister said no vehemently). The girls asked if Syd could stay with us. They do not like being apart.

The day she left, the girls asked me how many more “sleeps” they needed to do before she would be back. They asked me just about every hour. So I told them we would mark it on the calendar so they could look and see whenever they wanted to.

I’ve talked before about how difficult it is to explain time to kids. But wow! This whole calendar thing turned out to be way more difficult than I thought it would be!


Sydney left on the 10th and was supposed to come back on the 16th. So on the 10th, I put an X. Days 1 – 9 were left blank because we’d already passed those days. Then I put a little heart on the 16th.

Lila: Mom how many more sleeps?

Me: Let’s count. We are on this day (the 11th) so we have to sleep 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 more times before Sydney comes home.

Mia: But what about those days?

Me: What days?

Mia: Those ones (pointing to the days before the 10th)

Me: Oh those days have already passed. You already did all those sleeps.

Lila: When?

Me: Before Sydney left. This day (pointing to the 4th) was the day we watched fireworks and had Sydney’s birthday party. This day is the day we went to see Rio 2.

Lila: So we don’t have to count those sleeps or we do?

Mia: No we do have to count those sleeps too! The days happened but not the sleeps.

Me: Yes the sleeps happened already and no we don’t count those sleeps. There’s only 5 sleeps.

Lila: But how did we already do those sleeps?


So the solution was simple of course, we just put Xs on the 1st through the 9th. Problem solved. Sydney, I’m sure the girls are going to want to see you today…I know they missed you!


  1. It's cute they love Sydney so much! Why wouldn't your sister take your kids on vacation ;). Just a few more don't matter, hehe. Time is definitely a difficult concept to grasp, considering we can't see or feel it. Though good for kids, living in the moment ;). lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted..In preparation of 2 birthdaysMy Profile
  2. Time really is difficult to master, isn't it? We still have these sorts of discussions, and my kids are well able to count the days! Andrea recently posted..Fight NiceMy Profile
  3. I love this because it's so true! Just the other day I told my 5 year old daughter that Christmas is in a few months and she turned to me and said "you mean Christmas is tomorrow!" Now we are watching Christmas movies and singing Christmas songs! She's going to be so confused when she sees all the halloween stuff already in the stores.