6 Tips For Teaching Kids To Tell Time

August 11, 2019

Teaching kids how to tell the time correctly on an analog clock is by no means an easy process. As mobile and digital technology proliferate, more young children will see those digital clocks on a daily basis, further complicating the task of teaching how to tell time the old-fashioned way.

Try some of these tips to make learning to tell time easier and even fun.

Teach Them To Count To 60 And By Fives

Your child won’t be able to learn time without understanding how to count to 60 or how to count by fives. Counting to 60 is easy to teach; have your child write the numbers 1-60 on a piece of paper, then hang it somewhere prominent. Take opportunities when you’re out and about to point out higher numbers, such as price tags, and have your child tell you what number it is. As for fives, use that same list your child used to count to 60 and have them clearly mark each increment of five. In both cases, using a catchy song can help and make learning more fun. You can look for a song on YouTube or make one yourself

Place An Analog Clock In A Prominent Location

They say the best way to learn a language is immersion, and time is kind of like its own simple language. Pick up an analog clock or two and place them in visible locations in your house, such as above the living room TV. Your child with get used to seeing time in analog format, plus it’ll make other tips on this list easier.

Make A Paper Plate Clock

Time for some hands-on fun. Buy a couple of paper plates, one for you and one for your child. Spend some time creating paper clocks together. Start by labeling the hour numbers, then trace your hour and minute hands on a decorative piece of paper. Punch a hole through the middle of the plate and through the bottom of each hand, then use a brad (those little brass fasteners) to hold it all together. Now, you can use these paper clocks to quiz your kid on the time.

Discuss The Time At Significant Points Throughout The Day

Use that analog clock to your advantage of talking about the time during significant point throughout the day. For example, your child might know their bedtime is 8:30 pm. When it’s bedtime, ask them what number the little hand is pointing to. If they’re ready to go further, ask them about the big hand. They’re learning by relating important times of the day to the numbers on the clock.

Point Out How Much Time Certain Activities Take

In a similar vein to the previous tip, inform your child of how long daily activities take. For example, you could tell them brushing their teeth takes two minutes. Or perhaps you have to leave in a half-hour. Let your child know you have 30 minutes until you have to go and ask them what time it’ll be when it’s time to leave.

Avoid Figurative Expressions

“I’ll be there in a minute” is easy for us to understand, but nothing’s more confusing to a kid then using time terms in this fashion. Do your best to avoid saying “in a minute” or “in a second” until your child has a thorough understanding of all the basics of time.

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