Teaching Telling Time

Teaching a child to tell time in the digital world we live in today can be a real challenge.  Everywhere we look there are digital clocks as well as cell phones, computers, and other devices with the time readily available to users.  Many schools and places of business solely have digital wall clocks as opposed to the old, traditional clocks with numbers and hands that you have to know how to tell time to read. 

Nevertheless, learning to tell time is a timeless skill that everyone should learn as there will be at least a time or two in all of our lives where we will probably need to find out what the time is from a wall clock.  Learning to tell time is also a building block math skill as it involves counting by fives and knowing what numbers come before and after others.  Children who learn to tell time have a head start when it comes to other early math skills.  Teaching your child to tell time involves finding a way to motivate them to learn and helping them to see a use for the skill.  The younger you begin teaching a child the better as the younger they are the more they want to learn and have the knowledge and skills that those adults they look up to who are around them already have.  Telling time can be the next step up for a child after he or she learns to count if parents or other adults take the time to teach them.

Learning to tell time can be fun for kids.  First show them the difference the small hand and the big hand on the clock and help them to understand the difference between hours and minutes.  Next show them how each number on the clock stands for a five-minute interval.  Have a clock model with movable hands that you can get at most any bookstore or discount store or draw one on a whiteboard or piece of paper and count out the five minute intervals around the clock with your child.  As they begin to understand the basic concepts of time, try and make digital clocks unavailable to your children while you are teaching them to tell time.  Next, you could create incentives for your child for knowing what time it is.  For example, you could tell your child that if he or she can tell you when it is 1:30 P.M. that you will take him or her to the park or out for ice cream or on some other adventure of choice.

Although the best way to teach children to tell time is by adults taking time for children and sitting down with them and teaching them one on one, there are also many ways to use technology to either teach or reinforce the skill of telling time.  For example, they are apps from School Zone and other companies for ipad as well as many computer games, internet sites, and DVDs that can be very useful in teaching a child to tell time.  Searching for “resources for teaching telling time” on google will give you a variety of results that you can choose from.  Have fun and good luck!