There are countless pieces of knowledge that adults take for granted in their day to day lives, but many forget they had to be taught that knowledge as a child. Telling time is one of the many skills adults don't think about too frequently, but that changes when you have children. Learn about the process of teaching your child how to read a clock and tell time to help them get a jump start on their education.
Is Your Child Old Enough to Tell Time?
As a child's brain develops, they become better equipped to understand concepts that were beyond them at a younger age. For instance, young children may not understand death or risk, and the sameapplies to the concept of time. How old should your children be when you teach them about time?
There are a few different ages you can teach children about time, though doing so is most successful in increments. Children aged 5-6 should be able to read the hour and half hour markers on a clock face; children aged 6-7 should know the number of minutes in an hour, be able to tell time up to five minutes, and be able to identify the quarter hour faces of the clock; and children aged 7-8 should be able to read an analogue clock, record and compare time, estimate time with increasing accuracy, and understand how the times relates to day and night.
Teaching Your Child to Tell Time
Before a child can tell time, they need to understand the basics of what goes into telling time. Follow the below processes to ensure your child has the foundational knowledge to read a clock:
- Counting to 60: Children need to be able to count to 60 before they can tell time. Help them learn by having them read the numbers from a chart, write them, and recite them from memory.
- Counting by Fives: Once your child has learned to count to 60, teach them to count to 60 by fives using the same method you used to teach them to count to 60.
- Teach them the Concept of Time: Once your child has a grasp of the numbers associated with time-telling, they need to learn what time is. Help them understand the difference between morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night, so they can associate time with the different parts of the day.
- Make a Toy Clock Together: When your child is ready, make a toy clock out of a paper plate and construction paper. Involve your child in the creation process of the clock to help invest them in the activity.
- Connect Time to Their Daily Routine:Explain to your child how time relates to activities they perform throughout the day. For example, "It's 5 o'clock, which means it's time to eat dinner."
- Practice With the Hour Hand: As the easier of the two hands to grasp, start teaching your child how to use the hour hand of the clock so they can relate each number to an hour of the day.
- Practice With the Minute Hand: As the more difficult of the two hands to grasp, your child may have more trouble understanding how to read the minute hand of the clock. Teach them the difference between the two and don't be afraid to draw ticks on the clock or label each number with the number of minutes it represents until your child understands.
Continued practice will ensure your child gains comprehensive mastery of the time-telling process.