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kids holding clocks
It is important for your child to learn how to tell the time. Teaching your child to tell the time should begin as soon as they become aware of their surroundings. Start with making them aware of the concept of time. When they learn their numbers, they are ready for reading a digital clock. Finally, they are ready to learn to read an analog clock. The ability to tell time can be easy for your child to learn with some time, patience, and the following tips.

Teach Your Child the Concept of Time

You can begin when your child is very young with noting the difference between day and night. As you talk to your child, note things such as the strength of the sun and the stars at night. Also talk about the passing of time during the day, using terms for times of day and activities such as:
• morning
• noon
• night
• breakfast time
• lunch time
• dinner time
• nap time
• bedtime

Find some books that talk about time and read them to your child. After you read the book, talk about the passage of time and the importance of time to the story.

Instead of telling your children when it is time for certain activities such as naptime, bedtime, or when a special show is on TV, have them check the time for themselves. Also, have them watch the clock to see time pass by giving them directions such as, “We will have dinner when the clock says 8:10, so come to the kitchen then.” The more frequently you do this, the quicker they will begin understanding the concept of time passing.

Begin with the Easiest Clocks

As soon as your children can talk and count, you can begin giving them access to digital clocks and encouraging them to “read” the time for you. You will be surprised how many digital clocks you have in your home – on small appliances, the alarm clock, and even your cooker and fridge. You can even reinforce digital clock reading in the car. You will need to say the time at first and have your children repeat your words. Before long, they will begin to volunteer to give you the time by themselves.

Teach Your Child How to Read a Clock Face

When your child is ready to begin school, it is time to introduce an analog clock. They need to know how to count to 60, and should also be able to count by 5s.
One of the most confusing parts of learning to tell the time is dealing with the concept of two different hands, one for hours and one for minutes. Try making a clock with a paper plate and start with just the hour hand. Once they understand the hours, add a much shorter minute hand and mark the minutes on the paper clock face.

Tips for Teaching Your Child to Tell the Time

• Buy a colourful new wall clock for your kid’s room.
• Point to the clock during the day to let your child know what time it is.
• Buy your child an inexpensive watch to wear – a digital model first – then replace it with an analog one when they are ready.
Give your child a head start on learning about and using time by starting early and consistently using time-telling skills. As they grow, build on their experiences and use their daily routines to teach and reinforce the concept of time. Moving step-by-step while teaching your child to tell the time will make it an easy and enjoyable experience for both of you.

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