The Development of Children's Knowledge of the Times of Future Events
Four studies with 261 children were conducted to describe 4- through 10-year-olds' ability to differentiate the future distances of events. Distances ranged from later the same day through nearly a year in the future. Judgment methods included pointing to parts of a spatial scale representing future distances and answering open-ended questions. Although 4-year-olds failed to differentiate future distances, 5-year-olds were able to distinguish events that would occur in the coming weeks and months from those that would not occur for many months. However, like young children in earlier studies of memory for time, they confused the near future with the recent past. Children 6 through 8 years of age made more differentiated judgments but collapsed the distances of events more than a few months in the future. By 8 to 10 years of age, children accurately judged distances by using mental representations of the times of events in the annual cycle.
Friedman, William J. 2000. "The Development of Children's Knowledge of the Times of Future Events." Child Development 71(4): 913-932.