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Learning How To Tell The Time

Being able to tell the time is a very important skill that all children should learn and the responsibility for teaching this falls to the parents. Current school math curriculum does not include the teaching of time telling. The easiest way to introduce your child to the concept of telling the time, is to talk about different times of the day and how they figure into your everyday routine.

The following are a few simple ideas for teaching your child how to tell the time.

Begin by introducing your child to the various methods which can be used to measure the passage of time; a traditional clock, a watch, a sand timer, a digital clock, or a sundial. Make learning fun by including a game. Set your child a challenge to be completed within different timeframes. For example, the child could engage in completing a simple jigsaw puzzle or skipping for two minutes without stopping. This will give them a clearer idea of what each measurement of time equates to.

Make sure you mention significant times during the day. For example, "It's one o'clock – time for lunch." You can then show the child how to recognize that particular time on the clock. This will help them understand the positions of the minute and hour hand. A jigsaw clock is a valuable teaching tool. Not only is it useful, but it's also fun and will allow the child to place the numbers in order as well as exploring the movement of the hands.

Put a good, old-fashioned wall or alarm clock with clearly marked numbers and minute markers in your child's bedroom. This will illustrate that there are five minutes between each number and can lay the foundation for teaching the child how the minutes add up to form an hour.

Begin by explaining that the short hand shows the hour and the long hand shows the minutes. Now explain that there are 60 minutes in one hour, showing the child that each of the 12 blocks of five minutes adds up to 60. Move the minute hand to illustrate this. Show them that each time the minute hand moves around the clock once, one hour has elapsed and the hour hand will move on to the next number. You can demonstrate this over and over by moving the hands, starting at 12 o'clock and moving right around the clock face until you reach 12 again. Once your child has grasped this, ask them to show you different times and talk about what you typically do at that time every day.

You can now move on to teaching your child half-past times using the same principle as you did for hourly or "o'clock" times. Once again, link these times to events in your daily routine. When your child can tell "o'clock" and half-past time, it's the ideal moment to get them their own watch as a reward for learning to tell the time. This will help interest them in learning to keep time for themselves, independently of your help. Next, move on to counting around the dial in fives, stopping at each quarter-past and quarter-to time.

Some children pick up learning to tell the time very quickly. But even so, you should keep reinforcing time as part of your everyday routine. Now that your child has their own watch and clock in their bedroom, you'll find that telling the time becomes an established habit and pretty soon they'll be telling you what time it is!

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a freelance writer and author. She is a member of the UK national panel of dressage judges, holds a degree in Equine Science and a Diploma in Business Studies.

Alison Page

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