How to Teach Kids to Tell Time Without Trying So Hard

Do you want to teach kids to tell time without trying so hard? Then this guide is for you.

In this article, I’ll highlight 10 techniques that work for most parents.

 And I’m more than confident that if you implement any of these practices, your child will be a superstar when it comes to reading and telling time.

I need you to understand one thing before we begin:

There’s no specific age to teach kids time. You want to make it a gradual process because every child grows and learns at a different pace.

The goal, however, is the same: to ensure your child can comfortably read a watch and understand the concept of time, including the relationship between night and day.

Teaching Kids to Tell Time the Right Way

Here, then, is how to teach kids to tell time and ensure they get it right.

1. Help Your Child Connect Time to Their Daily Routine

incoporate time to kids activities

Make them understand how their daily activities relate to time. At the end of the day, there’s no better way to make a child time conscious than scheduling his/her activities.

Here are a few examples:

  • Remind them that when their kids’ alarm clock goes off, it means it’s time to wake up and get ready for school.
  • Make them know that when an hour hand point on the 12 O’clock mark, it means it’s time to stop everything else and have lunch.
  • When it’s 6 O’clock in the evening, it’s time to get their homework done in preparation for school the next day.

The basic point here is, by integrating time to your child’s daily routine, you help them to become time conscious from a very tender age. It even helps to see to it that they’ve done things correctly.

2. Teach Kids to Tell Time by Counting to Sixty

teach kids to tell time by counting to sixty

Ideally, since a clock is about sixty minutes, they should be able to recite and write down from number one to sixty. Remember, it should be correct! Let the flow be systematic and in order up to the last digits.

Get the child a big piece of paper and a pen. Encourage them to write down the numbers. And if possible, let them recite the numbers as they write them on the piece of paper.

Sometimes they’ll get it wrong and that’s okay. It’s your responsibility to correct and point them in the right direction. This way, the session doesn’t feel like a lecture, it feels and looks fun instead.

3. Help Them to Read the Hour Hand

reading hour hand for kids

Of all the three clock hands, an hour hand is usually an easy one to read. So you want to start with this to teach kids to tell time.

Your goal here is to make your youngster understand how each number on the hour hand relates to the time of the day.

For example, you both can look at the clock, point at the hour hand, and tell the child aloud that it’s 3 O’clock in the afternoon. Then, have the kid repeat after you.

4. Help Them to Read the Minute Hand

reading minute hand for kids

A minute hand may be a bit challenging to understand, especially if your child is a slow learner. In a sense, it requires you to give a thorough explanation than you would with the house hand.

At first, your child may not understand why a minute hand moves frequently and a lot faster than the hour hand.

So first, start by explaining that an hour hand only moves to the next number after every 60 minutes. And that 60 minutes equal to a 360-degree rotation of the minute hand.

You can make this even simpler by letting your child know that the difference between one number and the other on a digital close in relation to the minute hand is 5 minutes.

Make them understand that when the minute hand points to one, it means 5 minutes has elapsed, when it points to two, it means 10 minutes just elapsed, and so on.

5. Teach them to Count by Fives

counting by five

The goal here is to help your child understand how the minute hand works. So it’s important to teach them the cluster of five.

Make them know that with a difference of five numbers, the number should have a zero or five at the end.

And while you are at it, why not teach them a song. You can even show them a fun activity that can help them to remember the cluster of five.

6. Educate them on the Significance of Time

teach kids significance of time

Here’s where you help your child know why the concept of time is essential. This is where you help them understand about morning, noon, afternoon, and evening.

An easier way to make them understand this would probably to base the duration on mealtimes.

Morning means time for breakfast. Noon means time to eat lunch. And evening means time to have dinner.

Keep in mind that this technique isn’t suitable for a child just starting to learn how to tell time. The approach would work on a kid that can comfortably work with numbers.

7. Create a Toy Clock Together

create a toy clock together

It’s important to understand that, by default, children are visual learners. This is true especially in their formative years.

By creating a toy clock together, you can easily reinforce the teaching on telling time.

It’s important to have a noticeable difference in the length of the hour hand and the minute hand. Make sure that the minute hand is at least twice the length of the hour hand. You can even mark them with different colors for a better visual enhancement.

Use paper plates to make the face of the clock. Then, fold it into two, cross it, and fold it again into two. This will give both of you a better understanding of time reference.

To make this process interesting, have your child do this while looking an analog clock.

Remember, your child is just in the learning process. So it’s your responsibility to help them learn the clock correctly.

And while you’re at it, why not compare the toy clock to an analog clock and ask your child to identify the similarities?

8. Give Your Child an Easy Quiz

kids time quiz

You can do this to check whether they’ve grasped the concept of time correctly.

Ask them to look at and read the clock aloud to determine if they know the time of the day so far.

Don’t hesitate to draw an activity chart for kids and assign time to it. Make it easy to read and understand.

For instance, if the chart indicates 7 O’clock in the evening, then your child, who by now knows how to tell time, should know that it’s time to go to bed.

Let’s Wrap this Up

To teach kids to tell time requires a lot of patience, passion, and understanding.

Remember, learning is a gradual process. Plus, some kids are slow learners while others can grasp concepts faster.

It’s important to not reprimand your child harshly if they fail to get things right.

Correct them with love, instead. Remind them that it’s okay to not get the time concept right the first time. Then help them to work on becoming better.

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