Teaching Your Child to Tell the Time (Guest Post)

Learning to tell the time is a significant milestone in every child’s development and it is still a very important skill for all to  acquire, despite the spread of digital timepieces. The following suggested steps will help your child to understand and  remember the essentials.

The Starting Point
We all need a motive to prompt us to learn a new skill and children are no different. As a starting point, try to get your child to come up with some important times in his or her day, such as a meal time or the point when a favourite TV programme is coming on. You can use this to highlight the advantages of being able to tell the time for oneself – there is a reward to be obtained.

It is important that parents remember that each child is different and they all learn at their own pace. This may mean that you need to spend a little time helping your child master his or her basic counting skills before moving on to the concept of telling the time.

Using a Clock
It’s a good idea to work with a large clock with hands that you can move; this can be a play clock or an old one with the glass cover removed. Start with the hours of the day and show how the short hand represents them. Encourage your child to move the hand by asking him or her to, for example: “Show me twelve o’clock, time for your lunch.” Purchasing themed clocks for a bedroom can also be beneficial in getting your child interested in the topic.

Move on to introduce the idea of minutes and explain how the long hand on the clock helps us to read them. Once your child has grasped the idea of minutes, he or she will be ready for you to show how hours and minutes work together on the clock.

Consolidating Your Child’s Learning
Remember that any learning points you tell your child or demonstrate with the clock will be significantly reinforced by letting him or her try it too.

Overall there is no great rush, you can wait until your child is fully ready and use some simple stages to help. Try to recall what it was like to acquire this skill yourself – did your parents use games to make it a fun experience? Encouraging play with other children can aid the process, for example ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf’ is a childhood favourite for many kids.

This guest post has been brought in association with Tesco.com.