Back to School - Telling the Time

Learning to tell, and keep, time are two important life lessons and skills that help you determine whether you are going to make important pre-arranged events throughout your day. Examples include the bus to work in the morning, the meeting with your boss to discuss your promotion, and other events, such as parties and leaving time at the end of work! Interestingly, with the advent of digital technology, many children today don’t know how to read an analogue watch – what does that say for the future of the watch business?! Moreover, what does that say for their future in the real world when they will have to tell the time? A world built around time frames and a 24 hour day!

Learning how to tell the time is a skill that can be taught and is essential to understanding other things such as timezones, international time, and also may help children with other skills such as cognitive skills used to process the time. Educators feel that the earlier a child is taught this skill, the better, with most children telling the time at around 5 or 6, and those younger sometimes having difficulty due to not having learned basic maths.

Arguments for the use of old-style analogue watches and clocks are that telling the time on them not only enables us to tell the present moment, but also anticipate and plan for the future with the movement of the hands on the dial. An analogue watch or clock shows the time at the moment, as well as gives a visual representation of the time left within that hour, minute, or day. It is also argued that telling the time on analogue is an important tradition that speaks to history and development of technology, where new technologies are best appreciated with the old. With that said then how do you teach your child how to tell the time (or yourself for that matter), if anyone needs a recap, read on!

Interestingly, before teaching kids to read and tell the time, first they must relate time to their experience and therefore be taught about time itself. The first steps therefore are raising their awareness of time from a young age with simple and fun ideas such as:

  1. Doing activities that include timing things, such as boiling an egg.
  2. Drawing attention to the time at significant points during the day, e.g. “It’s 5 o’clock, time for tea”.
  3. Improve your child’s math skills – enabling them to count 1-6, as well as their 5 times table will help them tell the time
  4. Put a clock on the wall in your child’s room
  5. Talk about different times of the day and different days coming and past, e.g. today, tomorrow, yesterday
  6. Use internet resources and games, easily found through a quick google search
  7. With this preparation in place the final step is send your child to school! Here they will be taught valuable lessons in telling the time through activities and so on

So there we have it. With ‘back to school’ issues on the agenda we’ve added our own. Hope you liked our article, stay tuned for more, and watch this comedy from Dave Allen on telling the time as a bonus feature!