Many kids start to become curious about time at around kindergarten age, but if you feel your children is capable to start learn the basics (o’clock, half past..) you can teach them even before.
Here’s a little guide on how to teach kids to tell the time:
Make sure the child can count to 60. Trying to teach the minutes in an hour before the child can count that high will be discouraging for the child and unproductive for both of you.
Teach the 5 times tables. Understanding 5…10…15…20…etc. will make it much easier to conceptualize the minute hand on a clock.
Explain that the short hand is the hour hand. Keeping the minute hand at 12, move the hour hand to various positions on the clock. Explain that any time the minute hand is exactly over the 12, it is __ o’clock. Allow the child to move the hour hand around until (s)he is comfortable reading it.
Explain that the long hand is the minute hand. Keeping the hour hand stationary, move the minute hand around and explain what each position means to your child. Start by covering the 5-minute marks; once they understand those, progress to the “off” numbers like 12 and 37. Allow the child to move the minute hand around and practice reading it until (s)he is comfortable. Don’t worry about hours for the time being.
Demonstrate how to read the hour and minute hand together. Start with simple times (ex. 1:30, 4:45, 8:05) before moving on to more complicated ones (ex. 2:37, 12:59) – especially ones with overlapping hands (ex. 1:05).
Allow the child to quiz you. This will give him/her confidence and a sense of control while simultaneously getting in another form of practice.
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