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How to Teach Your Child to Tell Time

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How to Teach Your Child to Tell Time

The truth is, there are many skills we take for granted today, but we had to learn those skills through hard work and perseverance. Telling the time on an analogue clock is the ultimate example of this. Here is how you can teach your child to read a clock and prepare them to leap on their own.

You may not realize how complex it is to tell time on an analogue clock until you are trying to teach it to a child. The ability to read a clock requires an understanding of multiple mathematical concepts as well as the ability to synthesize them in a complex way.

Understanding how time moves is also necessary to tell the time. If you are having trouble teaching your child to tell the time, do not worry; take a deep breath. It takes time and practice to learn how to read a clock, so it is important to begin by learning what time is. It gradually builds up to the capability of reading the minute to second. 

Your Child Can Tell Time with These Productive Tips

Time telling is an abstract concept. Therefore, many hands-on materials when teaching it to young children must accompany it. It is ideal for children to be able to tell time to the hour and half past the hour by the age of five or six and understand the hands on the clock. Here are some basic steps your child can take to learn how to tell time:

  • Get To The Basics

Begin by introducing your child to the basic concepts of time, such as morning, afternoon, evening, and night. You can discuss the activities associated with these hours of the day, such as eating breakfast in the morning or sleeping in the evening.

  • Analyse The Parts Of The Clock

Identifying the parts of the clock is the first step in learning how to tell time. Your child will need to identify the hands, the numbers, and the hour hand. To teach time telling, try to avoid clocks with a second hand. Kids can feel confused and distracted until they get used to this. 

  •  Make A Clock For Your Child

Making a clock together is a fun activity. Make a paper plate with numbers around the edge, and let your child draw or put stickers on it. The clock hands can be made using pipe cleaners or Play-Doh. Write “minute” on the long hand and “hour” on the shorter one to make it easier for your child to understand. Make sure you have a reference clock nearby.

  • Time-Telling By The Hour

After your child has mastered the parts of the clock, you can begin showing them what the hour looks like. Children should first be able to identify the hour hand, and then they should check whether the minute hand is up at the noon position. This indicates the time is that hour o’clock.

  • Time-Telling By The Half-Hour

If your child understands telling time to the hour, you can introduce the half-hour. It would be helpful if they could visually recognize times like 5:30, 8:30, or 11:30. It is essential to keep in mind that the hour hand does not always point directly at the big number. Explain to your child that we always look at the big number that is right after the hour hand.

  • Time-Telling By The Five-Minute Intervals

When kids can count by five automatically, they are ready to learn to tell time to the five-minute interval. As a next step, explain that they can count by fives around the clock to find out how many minutes have elapsed since the hour. You can continue to work only on times that are still within 30 minutes of the hour, e.g., 5:20, 5:25, or 5:30.

  • Time-Telling Beyond 30 Minutes

Time readings like 3:45 and 6:55 can be confusing since the hour hand moves toward the next hour at these times. Often, young kids will read 3:50 as 4:50 because the hour hand appears to be pointing to the 4. Let your child observe how the hour hand slowly moves from number to number. You can start working at times like 40 and 45 minutes after the hour. Lastly, focus on times like 50 and 55 minutes past the hour. 

The ability to tell time is a conceptual, abstract concept that you can start teaching around age 6. Then, talk to your kids about the importance of time in their daily lives. It takes some time to fully master the steps involved in telling time. You should teach your child first how to count by the hour, then half an hour, then five minutes, and finally by the minute. Throughout the day, provide your child with an opportunity to use clocks naturally, and he or she will soon become a master at telling time. 

Ultimately, each child learns in a different way and at a different pace. Your child needs to have a strong sense of time in every step of his or her daily routine, but you should not make it tedious. When your child gradually gains confidence, begin introducing more complex concepts, such as clocks with Roman numerals. The most important thing is to encourage and practice constantly. Good things do not happen overnight. It will take time for good things to happen.

Also published on Medium.

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