I remember back in first grade being taught to tell time. My teacher would send us home with blank clock faces on paper and every day, weekends included, we had to wake up and write down on the clock face what time we woke up. Since I did not have an alarm clock in my bedroom, I have a clear memory of tiptoeing into my parents’ bedroom to peek at the Big Ben alarm clock with the gray face to see what time it was.
It was 6:05.
My mom opened up her eyes and wanted to know why I was up so early on a Saturday morning!
She was not happy, and I guess that it why I can remember this so vividly, as I never made that mistake again!
As a mother and a teacher, I can tell you from my own experience that teaching time to children is a challenge. One thing that helps them learn this important life skill is to give them a watch that is appropriate for their age.
Teaching Children About Time
There is nothing more charming than a preschooler asking “Are we there yet?” five hundred times during the one hour ride to the water park. Children this age, who are in Piaget’s Preoperational Stage of cognitive thinking, cannot grasp concepts that are abstract, such as time. What exactly is five minutes or three days?
There are concrete ways to help them learn. For example, if you tell a child that it is three sleeps until it is her birthday, that is method she can understand.
If you are able to, setting a timer can help them get an idea of how long five minutes is. If you say “dinner will be served in five minutes” set a timer. They can either physically see the countdown on a digital timer or if you have the old fashion dial one, have them see it move slowly until the buzzer goes off.
Digital watches are perfect for young children, as this is the concrete learning tool that they can use to visually see time change. This makes sense to them, as they can see the numbers change.
When Do You Teach Children How to Tell Time?
Digital Versus Analog
With so many things in our lives being digital and not analog, teaching time to children has become a bit more of a challenge. Everything from phones to microwaves-things that did not exist in my own childhood-give the time in digital form. Children are not forced to flex this learning muscle and wonder why they have to, since very few things in their lives have an actual watch face.
However, not everything that is old school technology is a bad thing, and learning to tell time with a watch that has a face is still a part of today’s world
Another problem that I have encountered both as a teacher and as a parent is that schools are attempting to teach children time concepts that they simply are not ready to learn brain-wise. Teaching a second grader elapsed time (how much time between 4:45 and 7:20, for example) is not in her best interest and can cause quite a bit of frustration on the part of each party.
Because of this, both parents and teachers need a tool that will help them teach this ever important concept to children.
This is where time teaching watches come in.
These unique watches have large faces, with numbers and minute lines that can be read easily. Most importantly, the challenging concept of teaching which one is the minute hand and which one is the hour hand is made easier because each hand is labeled appropriately. This is a wonderful teaching tool and it will not handicap the child later on in life. After all, children want to be more grown up and mature, and Mommy and Daddy do not have these things on their own watches. It is simply a “bridge watch” to the real deal.
Disney has an entire line of time teaching watches that feature characters from their television shows as well as big box office hits of yesterday and today. There is bound to be one that your child will love to learn with.