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Learning to tell the time isn’t always a simple concept to pass on to young kids.
We would say that at around the age of 4 or 5, depending on your child, you might want to buy your child his first clock. Make sure it is a sturdy and durable one though as your child will probably still think of it as a toy. Of course, he will be thrilled to have an adult thing to look after.
Putting a wall clock in your child’s bedroom is a great way of getting your child acquainted with the concept of time (you can get many themed kids wall clocks).
For toddlers, it is too early to begin to teach them the concept of learning to tell the time. However, if you are having problems getting your toddlers to stay in bed during the night, instead of coming over to your bed, you might want to look at something like My Tot Clock which teaches very young children when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake up.
What Clock Is Best To Use – Analog or Digital?
Depending on what they will teach your children at school, regarding the time, you might want to teach your child by using a kids analog clock or teach them the time using kids digital clocks.
We believe it is easier to start with the basic and most often used clock face which is the analog clock.
To begin with, you can start by telling your child about the main times in your household which might be something like:
7 o’clock – time to wake up
8 o’clock- time to go to school
12 o’clock – time for lunch
3 o’clock – time for a fruit snack
and so on.
Spend a long time just teaching the basic fundamentals of what specific times mean to your family.
The Hour Hand & Minute Hand
At the next stage you might want to introduce the hour and minute hands to your child. Explain how the long hand means different things depending on which number it is on:
When the hour hand is on 12 it means it is something o’clock.
When the hour hand is on 6 it means it is half past something.
And so on.
Once your child has grasped the quarter past and quarter to, you can then start to explain the 5 minute intervals. So that when the big hand is on 2, it means it is 10 past. Hopefully this makes sense.
Learning To Tell The Time Is a Process
We recommend you start teaching your child how to tell the time in a sequence of steps as we have outlined above. Otherwise if you introduce everything too soon, the basics will become overwhelming and your child won’t really absorb or make sense of it all. Little concepts, explained a little at a time work best.
Once your child has become used to the analog clock, you can start to introduce the digital clockface, which many children find easier, having learned all about the analog times beforehand.
It is usually around 7 or 8 years of age that your child will most likely become very good at telling the time and if you have started explaining the basics at the age of 5, then he will be in a good position to understand the complexities of time by the time he is 8 years old.