When it comes to teaching your kids to tell time, there’s no time like the present! Kids love to learn, especially when new concepts and ideas are delivered to them in a fun, age-appropriate manner, and telling time is no different. With these 5 easy tips and tricks, (and an awesome kids clock) your kids will be keeping you on schedule in no time!
#1 - Start them young
As soon as children start to count, they are old enough to be introduced to clock faces and the concept of time. A fun and easy way to do this is with a kids clock puzzle. With number-shaped puzzle pieces and movable clock hands, this is an ideal tool for toddlers and pre-schoolers to practise counting, number sequencing, and learning all of the clock basics. Tip: By labelling the hands of the clock with ‘hours’ and ‘minutes,’ your child will have the advantage of learning the role of each hand on the clock at a very early age.
#2 - Practice counting from 1-60 and by 5s
Kids love to count so take advantage of it and help them use this tool for telling time as well. Count with your child each day and make a game of it by having each of you say alternating numbers (this helps prompt them so they don’t have to remember the whole sequence by themselves). Once they can count up to 60 (or higher), slowly start introducing the concept of counting patterns - specifically counting by 5s. This Clocksicle kids clock with easy to read numbers and dot markers for each minute is the perfect visual tool for helping to regularly practise counting with your child. Place the clock in a highly visible area in your home, at a height that your child can easily see, and make counting the numbers on the clock part of your daily routine.
#3 - Put a clock in your child’s bedroom
Repetition is the key to learning. Help your child recognise familiar times of day by placing a clock in your child’s room so it’s the first thing they glance at when they wake up and the last thing that they look at before they fall asleep. Try a kids’ alarm clock like the Tell the Time Silent Alarm Clock that has reference notes indicating each quarter of the hour. Its soft, neutral colours will blend in with both vintage and modern interiors and its quiet operation won’t be a night-time distraction. Tip: Instead of counting sheep, have your child practise counting by 5s as they drift off each night.
#4 - Introduce time-blocking
Aside from counting, being able to identify parts of the day (morning, afternoon, and evening), is an essential part of telling time. Start by breaking your child’s day into chunks of time and regularly work it into conversation. Ask them questions like: “What time of day do you go to school?” “What time of day do you go to bed?” “What part of the day is it when you come home from school?” Being able to identify parts of the day will help them to learn the concepts of AM and PM down the road.
#5 - Have your child be the time keeper
Challenge your child to be timekeeper for the week! Make a ‘timekeeper’s kit’ with a notebook or clipboard and a portable kids clock that they can carry around the house with them to time regularly occurring events throughout the week. Have your child write down how long certain routines take by noting where the minute hand is when the event starts and where it is when the event ends. (Eating dinner and reading bedtime stories are easy options to track each day.) If dinner normally takes 30 minutes each day, or if you usually read bedtime stories for 15 minutes each night, your child will soon be able to relate these activities to a measurable unit of time.