Experts agree that even before your child learns to read the hands on a clock, he should have a basic understanding of time and how we measure it.
“The concept of past and future is a beginning sense of time for children,” says expert. “Many children use the terms yesterday to refer to events that have taken place in the past and tomorrow for events that will take place in the future. Most children do not use these terms correctly until kindergarten.”
To help your child understand the notion of time, you can begin at a young age to illustrate its measurement tools.
Watches are fun for kids and can be a great way to get them excited about time. But what about the notion that kids shouldn’t own a digital watch until they can read a traditional clock first?
“Learning how to read a digital clock first is fine,” insists expert. “It actually makes sense for a child to understand the numerical way to write 3:30 before she learns how the hands on a clock can show the same thing.”
Consider introducing the clock by relating it to your daily schedule. When the big hand touches the 6, we will be leaving for dance class. Many parents find success by taking photos of the clock showing various times, labeled with what the family will be doing at that time. Tape these pictures on the wall next to the clock.
Most teachers agree that when you’re ready to work on reading clock faces with your child, it helps if she is able to skip count by fives. Starting with the o’clocks and going to half-pasts, seems to be the way to go.