Have you ever considered how big of a role time plays in our daily lives? In some ways time is a very abstract notion. In others it is a tangible, trackable thing.
Think of how many different ways we use time. Time is concrete – Seconds, minutes, hours , our days are divided into units of time. Time is an abstract idea a way of categorizing – Past, present, future.
Time is wasted like a resource, time is cherished like a loved one. Whenever you reminisce about the past or plan for the future you are influencing and being influenced by time.
From a young age we teach children how to tell time. But we don’t usually explore what “time” is. It can lead to some very interesting conversations. Having a good concept of time is very important when setting Goals and Resolutions.
The best thing about time is you can choose what to do with it. We can’t get our time back, once it is gone, it is gone. How we spend our time determines the kind of life we live and we all have 24 hours in a day.
I believe there are two keys to making the most of every moment. The first is to have a concrete understanding of time and where it goes, and the second is once you know where it goes to actively choose to enjoy the time you have. Here are some strategies you can use.
Visualizing time: This can be done as a family activity and it is very beneficial for children to see where their parents time goes too. It makes it that much more important to really make the most of the time that you have.
Here is a great way to visualize time and how you can easily see the old adage, “Time is Money” is so true. Use quarters or loonies for this demonstration. If there is a risk of choking, you can use paper play money. Give every member of the family 24 pieces of money, one for each hour of the day. If you are doing this activity as a group activity with teenagers, you can have them look at how they spend each 1/2 hour so that would be 48 pieces of money.
Step 1 – Dividing your day. While we all have 24 hours in a day, we don’t get to spend 24 hours however we want. We must sleep, eat, tend to hygiene, keep our houses clean, go to school. There are some things that aren’t very negotiable ( but this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing them!)
This is the time to discuss what everyone in the family does with their day. It is a great way for kids to see visually what it means in time for parents to work – both inside and outside the home. They are trading their time for money to support the family. Going to school is trading time to be educated so you can support yourself later. Have two pieces of paper in the middle of the table one labeled “Things we need to spend time on” and one labelled “Things we choose to spend time on”
Start with things you need to spend time on. This includes how much time you spend each day sleeping, eating, working, going to school, cleaning up etc. Take how many hours you usually spend on each activity each day and take the coins from your pile and place in stacks on the “Things we need to spend time on” sheet and label them with the activity. For example if you usually spend 8 hours each day sleeping, count out 8 coins and put them on the “Things we need to spend time on” paper under “Sleep” Go through this process for each person in the family and discuss how everyone spends their time. Kids might be very surprised to realize that after all the tasks of living are accounted for, they might not have very much time/money left.
There will be grey areas and cross over. Physical activity is a need to be healthy. Perhaps you would like to spend at least 1 hour outside or in a physical activity every day. That would go in the need category, if there are extra sports you do, that could go into the “Things you choose to spend time on category” I’m a firm believer that “Family time” should be a need.
Once you are finished with your needs it is time to allocate your “things we choose to spend time on” time. What else do you spend time on during the day? Do you have hobbies?Are you involved in sports or clubs? do you have a favorite TV program you watch, or are you allowed to spend a certain amount if time each day on the computer? Have each person talk about how they like to spend the time that they have left. Start putting your coins on the “Things we choose to spend time on” category.
It will soon become apparent that sometimes we waste time, or sometimes we spend time doing one thing when we really want to be doing something else. Doing this exercise will start some interesting conversations and give your child a more concrete understanding that time is a commodity, just like money and at the end of the day it will be gone, but you have power over how you spend it.
Step 2 – Make the most of every moment. Once you have completed the above exercise, look at where you spend your time. Regardless of it is where you need to spend time on, or where you choose to spend time on, you can make make the most of the time you have. This could include involving your family in more activities you need to do each day – such as making meals as a family. You have to do the dishes every day, make doing dishes fun. Memories can be made and fun can be had even while doing your regular chores. Or you can turn them into a game and track progress using tools like Chore Wars.
Exercise is necessary for health but it can also be a lot of fun. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate fun into walks and you can even combine physical activity and doing homework! Your family can make a creativity to go tool kit so you will be prepared to make the most of every creative adventure that comers up.
You can use the Creative Kids 30 day challenge outline to get into the habit of being conscious with your time and making the most of every moment.
Whether you are practicing a skill or hobby deliberately or breaking the rules one of the most important things we can learn to get the most out of life is to simply be in the moment and embrace it, no matter what we are doing.
I would love to hear how your family makes the most of every moment. Please leave a comment and share with us!