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Play / 18 Dec 2015 / by James

Teaching Your Child to Tell the Time

The Method

Learning to tell the time is a skill that children will use every day for the rest of their life so it is essential that you explain it thoroughly. First of all make sure your child can count to 60 and can count in jumps of 5. Being able to recognise numbers is the very basic skill you need for telling time.

The next step is then to start explaining what each hand represents. Work from the hours, to the minutes and eventually the seconds moving the clock hands and quizzing your child about what time it is.

Learning new things doesn’t have to be boring – it can be great fun. An easy way of helping to teach children how to tell time is by associating it with daily events. For example, waking up at 7am, eating lunch at 12:30, having dinner at 5pm and bed at 7:30pm. When you sit down at the dinner table perhaps ask your child what time dinner is and point to the clock.   

Once they get a hang of it tell them that they are your new time master and ask them what the time is a few times a day. This will make them feel useful and after all, practise makes perfect! The next step is learning the 24 hour clock but we will save that for another time.


Teaching Apparatus

Paper print outs of clocks are a great teaching method as children can colour in sectors in the colours of their choices adding a sense of creativity to their learning. However here at Aspace our favourite method is using a wooden teaching clock.

Wooden teaching clocks for children have numbers written in figures and words on different coloured wooden shapes which can be removed. This way it can not only be used to teach your child the time but also shapes and colours too. They even stand up on their own so would make the perfect decoration on a shelf or window sill.

When they can tell time with ease you could even put a clock in their bedroom. Novelty wall clocks are great fun and will fit perfectly with home décor. We particularly like our dinosaur or robot clocks, or for something a little softer then maybe a damask one. Or alternatively a small beside clock makes the perfect addition to a bedside table and one with an alarm will hopefully get them up in time in the morning.


Do you have older children who you taught how to tell the time? Share your words of wisdom with our families going through this process with a tweet.