Monday, November 8, 2010

Teaching Kids to Tell Time

How Nannies and Au Pairs Can Help Kids Learn to Tell Time

There's a time for everything. There's a time to go to school, time to do homework, dinner time, bedtime, and the list goes on. If you want to keep kids on schedule, teach them how to keep time, show them how to read a clock and you'll only have to answer that age-old question, "Is dinner ready yet?"

It takes consistency, patience, and some fun kids learning games to teach kids the concept of time.

This week we will show how to teach kids to read a 12-hour analog clock. Learning to read digital clocks is much easier and relying on them may discourage kids from learning how to read a clock with hands. That's why it's best to focus on reading an analog clock first.

While most five-year-olds are ready to learn basic concepts of time, they probably won't fully master the details until age seven or eight.

Half the battle of teaching kids anything is to keep them interested, so make your lessons interactive and memorable by incorporating art, music, poetry, physical movement, and visual aids when you can.

And keep in mind that kids will learn best when they can see how a lesson relates to their own daily lives. Most kids quickly learn when recess and lunchtime are, since these events are so important to them.

Step One
Explain the Clock's Face:

Until they learn to read a clock, most kids only have a vague understanding of what time is. Anything that doesn't happen instantly seems to take either a long time or a very long time. An analog clock gives them a visual way to interpret time and understand how they spend it every day.

The hands. Start by showing them that the hour hand is the thickest, shortest hand on the clock, the minute hand is longer and not as thick, and the second hand is the skinniest and moves very quickly around the clock's face. Avoid referring to the "big hand" and the "little hand," since kids often find these terms confusing.

The numbers. Point out each number starting with 12 and moving in order clockwise. Ask the kids to read these numbers aloud with you for a second and third time. (They may be puzzled that 1, a number much smaller than 12, is not the first number on the clock, but repetition will help them remember the right order.) Now point out that the clock's hands always move in this same direction.
Next, using several pictures of clocks that are either missing some of the numbers or not labeled at all, have the kids fill in the missing digits. Demonstrate how to start numbering a blank clock by filling in the 12 and then working to the right as you circle around the clock.

What the clock measures. Explain that it takes 12 hours (half a day) for the hour hand to travel around the clock's face, and when the hour hand has traveled all the way around the clock twice, a whole day has passed. Tell them the first half is a.m. (morning) and the second half is p.m. (afternoon and evening). To reinforce this concept, you can read through all the numbers on the clock again (yes, again!), this time twice in a row.

Click here for reference.

Stop by tomorrow for Step Two of Teaching Kids to Tell Time


Anonymous said...

I've always had a terrible time trying to teach children to tell time. Leave it for the school.

Lisa said...

While I have my own systems for teaching young children to tell time, I do appreciate your running these tips as there is a tidbit that can be picked up here and there.

I for one don't care for nagging my young charges for when we are running behind schedule to places that start at set time. So when they are able to look at a face clock and see those hands for themselves, it's like a reflex action for them to pick up their pace.

Teaching a child to tell time is not like teaching them rocket science. (Which yes I've done too, come to think of it.)