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There are several steps that you can take when starting to teach your child how to tell time:
- Explain the watch face:
- Large numbers represent HOURS
- The small numbers/dots represent MINUTES.
- The HOUR hand is short
- The MINUTE hand is longer
- The best advice is to explain the time passing by explaining the MINUTE hand. Talk about tasks that take MINUTES to do. Time yourself and your child doing these tasks. These might include riding a bike, doing homework, reading a book, writing a letter to a friend, drawing, and cooking dinner. Count the minutes on the watch face by ones, fives, tens, fifteens, and thirties.
- Next comes the HOUR hand. Explain that every time the MINUTE hand makes one full trip around the face, the hour hand moves forward one large number. Time yourselves at activities that take an hour or hours to do, for example: watching a TV program or movie, spending time at school or on the playground, or driving to a neighboring city. Count aloud the twelve hours as you point to them on the watch face.
- Practice writing and saying the time with your child. Count again by fives, tens, fifteens, and thirties to help your child understand how to read time more efficiently than by counting the individual dots every time. Encourage your child to practice telling time by keeping a schedule of his/her daily activities.
The first level for learning how to tell time would include numbers denoting hours and only numbers by five denoting minutes. This way the concepts of half hour and quarter of hour can be introduced.