Whether you are a teacher, a parent, or a caregiver, teaching children to tell the time can be a daunting task. Time can be a tricky concept for young children to grasp, but being able to tell the time is an essential life skill that will help children with their daily routines, as well as helping them to develop a sense of time management and responsibility.
If you are searching for useful tips on how to support your child to tell the time, these 10 top tips will make the process engaging and fun for kids.
- Start with the basics
The first step in teaching kids to tell the time is to make sure that they have the basic mathematical skills required to tell the time. This includes subtraction, addition, and a basic understanding of fractions to understand that time is divided into units such as days, hours and minutes.
- Introduce the concept
Start by explaining the concept of time in a simple way by including real-life examples, such as explaining that time passes as they play a game or watch a film. Ask them to note the position of the hands before and after the activity, and explain that the movement of the hands shows how much time has passed.
- Explain the hands
Once the kids have a basic understanding of time, you can move on to teaching them how to read the clock. The best way to begin this process is to explain the roles of the different hands, paying attention to the different speeds of the hands to demonstrate the different measurements of time.
- Use an analogue clock
Whilst many of us use our phones and other digital clocks to tell the time, it is best to use an analogue clock rather than a digital one when teaching children to tell the time. This is because the moving hands on an analogue clock provide a visual indicator of time passing, and digital clocks can be challenging for children to read if they do not have this visual understanding.
- Everyday activities
Once you have introduced time as a concept, a good way to begin teaching time is to use everyday activities. An excellent activity to use for this is baking, as you can explain that baking requires following a recipe that has specific instructions for how long to mix, bake, and cool the ingredients. You can also use other everyday activities, such as brushing teeth, taking a bath, or getting dressed, and use a clock or timer to track the time.
- Incorporate time into daily routines
To build on this understanding, begin to ask the child to tell you the time, rather than telling them. Ask them to tell you the time of daily events, such as what time they brush their teeth, have dinner, or go to bed. This will gradually help them to develop a sense of time management and responsibility.
- Practice telling time
Practice makes perfect, and this is especially true when it comes to telling time. Once kids understand the basics of telling time, applying that knowledge is the best way to develop their time telling abilities. Ask your child the time throughout the day, ask them how long until bedtime or dinner time, or ask them to tell you how much time they have spent on a specific activity.
- Utilise resources
There are many ways to practise telling time, such as implementing routine worksheets and using tell-the-time card games.
- Keep it fun and engaging
Throughout the time-teaching process, it is essential to remember that children learn best when they’re having fun. Incorporating games and activities, particularly activities that can be enjoyed as a family, will make learning to tell the time more enjoyable and take the pressure away from the process.
- Be patient and positive
Finally, remember to be patient and allow children to take the time that they need. Encourage them to keep practising on their own, and offer positive reinforcement when they make progress to encourage confidence in their time-telling abilities.
Teaching children to tell the time can be challenging, but it is an essential skill that they will need throughout their lives. If you are getting ready to teach your children to tell the time, Easy Read Time Teacher offers a wide range of time-teaching products, including watches, clocks, games and classroom resources to help children tell the time.