Posted in Family, Personal life

Golden Times

English: Trench watch (wristlet). The type of ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(This new post is about a great idea for encouraging good behaviour from children in school: Golden Time)

For many children at our village school, the highlight of the week is “Golden Time”. Doesn’t the name sound alluring even before you know what it is?

Golden Time is a brief period every Friday when the pupils are allowed to do what they like – from playing on the computers to drawing pictures to curlng up with a good book. It’s a treat they look forward to all week as an antidote to their hectic schedule. It’s also an effective motivator for good behaviour, as staff may dock minutes from each child for misdemeanours. To allow naughty children to reform, the slate is wiped clean each week, everyone starting with a full score of minutes every Monday morning.

Attending a parents’ meeting in the classroom when my daughter was a new Year 1, I spotted on the whiteboard a list headed “Golden Time” with a number of minutes against each child’s name. Several other mums were as aghast as I was to see there were no numbers next to our children. What on earth had they done to lose all their time? Hesitantly, I asked the class teacher who smiled and shook her head.

“Oh no, Mrs Young, the numbers there represent the minutes those children have been docked!”

Phew, my daughter was a good girl after all! My relief was palpable.

English: Sundial on Moot Hall, Aldeburgh, Suff...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One recent Friday, all the girls in her class emerged from Golden Time with their hair in beautiful fishtail plaits, courtesy of their kind teacher. Next week, they were wild-haired from a lovely session of crazy, headbanging dancing.

Either way, they were happy, contented and effectively rewarded for being good all week.

I just wish there was a Golden Time for grown-ups. Or maybe there is, and I’ve just lost all my minutes for bad behaviour.

Hmm, must try harder…


This post was originally published in the Hawkesbury Parish News, November 2012.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like this one that harks back to my own behaviour in school:

What Size Is Your Jersey?

or this one about my daughter’s approach to time management:

What A To-Do! The Tale of My Daughter’s Action List


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

5 thoughts on “Golden Times

  1. Our primary school uses Golden Time. It’s a great incentive, and the kids love it. I’m involved in providing a cookery session that the children can take part in as part of Golden Time.

    1. Ooh, that sounds a nice way to spend Golden Time – I bet it will be really popular. My daughter’s school is signed up for a fab school cooking project called “Let’s Get Cooking” which funds after-school classes in cooking. Website is It’s a brilliant initiative – and you can’t beat free!

  2. I remember my 2 daughters having Golden Time at primary school.
    I think as adults we have to be kind to ourselves every now and then and make our own Golden Time. Maybe a long hot soak in the bath after a difficult day at work, a bar of chocolate after spring cleaning the house or a glass of wine after cooking and clearing up from the evening meal. Enjoy whatever makes your time Golden!

    1. Great advice, Sally, and you’ve chosen my three favourite treats! For an extra reward, one could even combine all three at the same time – a glass of wine and a bar of chocolate in a hot bubble bath. Oh, and I’d add a good book as well! 🙂 (Can’t stop multi-tasking, even in the bath!)

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