How can you teach your child to tell the time? In order for them to learn how to tell time, they first must know how to count and recognize numbers as well as simple addition and subtraction. Here are both ways for children to learn to tell time using both digital and analog clocks or watches.
The easiest way to teach your kids to tell the time is obviously using a digital clock or watch (or you can get the clock above). However, they need to be old enough to know how to count to 59 and recognize all the numbers from 1 to 59. Although there are 60 minutes in an hour, 60 will never appear on those normal watch that we usually wear around unless you have one that is specifically bought to teach your child. There is almost always a colon or at least a dot, on more modern watches, to separate the hours and minutes. The left side will always be the hours and the right will always be the minutes.
If you have a watch that is set to military time, each hour of the day is labeled as 1 to 24. You can teach your kid that 24 represents midnight and 12 represents noon. For your kids to understand how they can convert the time… they must have some basic understanding of addition and subtraction, for example, 6pm is 18hr, since 12 plus 6 is 18. They can also convert it back by subtracting, if it is 17:00 hours, 17 minus 12 is 5, so it is 5pm. Another key concept to teach your kid here is that when it comes to time-telling, the number 12 plays an important role!
If a clock has an analog or ‘non digital’ face (such as the one above), a child will have to know their multiplication tables, especially in multiples of 5, as well as be able to add on minutes. The large hand will always represent the hour and the longer hand will always represent the minutes. Each number on the face represents an increment of five minutes. If the long hand is on the 7 then it is 35 (= 7 x 5) minutes past the hour. In between each number are one minute increments, with five minutes total between each number.
Another way for them to learn is for you to draw blank clocks on a sheet of paper and have the child draw in the hour, or draw in the hour yourself and have the child tell you what time it is. This can be a good practice on top of what you are using (as shared above) to reinforce their learning!
Kids will need adult help and most of the time they will transpose the minutes and hours, but that is completely normal. For a younger child that cannot multiply by fives up to sixty, do not make life difficult and just teach him or her with a digital watch. Any kid who is great with multiplication, or about ages eight and up, can start to learn with an analog watch. Take this time to engage your kids and form a good parent-child relationship!