Do I have to say o'clock
Learn to watch: With these tips it's child's play!
At what age should my child learn the clock?
Don't stress yourself and your child here unnecessarily. A three-year-old doesn't have to be able to read the clock in the daycare to know when mom or dad will come to pick him up. The best thing to do is to think about the point in time from which it might make sense to give your child a time to go when you want to meet or when the little one should keep appointments. For example, preschool age would be a suitable time for your child to learn the clock and its features slowly and gradually. But, as I said: give yourself and your child enough leeway.
This is how your child learns the clock step by step
The little pointer
To understand correctly: We are of course talking about a classic analog watch - not digital ad formats. The best way to teach your child to read one is to begin with the explanation of the little pointer. Since your child must of course already have had contact with numbers to read a clock, the prerequisite is the understanding of the digits 1 to 12. Using a real clock, preferably a corresponding toy model, explain to him that these numbers represent the hours of the day and keep giving times, which your child can then set independently - initially only with the small pointer.
The big pointer
Now to the big brother of the little pointer, which should actually be the little brother - because it stands for the minutes. But not so fast: It is best to start dividing the whole hours into half an hour and then into quarter of an hour. Your child will quickly understand the principle and be enthusiastic about being able to set the time "half past three". This success makes you want more and gives the little one self-confidence to go into even more detail.
At this point, a joint look at a suitable learning book can also help to understand the principle of a clock and its hands. A suitable one is, for example, "I know more! Read and understand the time" by Rosie Hore.
The minutes come into play
"Mom, it's a quarter to seven". You look proudly at your child, who just as proudly grins up at you. Together you were able to take a big step in his development that brought you even closer together. So now it can get down to business: the minutes.
This requires computational knowledge and a command of numbers up to 60. If this hurdle has already been overcome, you can get the learning clock out again. Starting from the full hour (described by the small pointer), you now set the exact times together. Explain to your child that a classic clock shows the minutes in steps of five. The small lines in between are then to be viewed as individual minutes up to the next step of five.
At the beginning you name the previous step of five and then count the individual intermediate steps together while counting out loud. "It's six o'clock and 3, 4, 5, 6 pm ... It's 6:18 am!" In this way you go through different times of the day. Let your child do the counting more and more, and so take the initiative. Before you know it, your little one babbles times and sets them directly on the clock. A great feeling for parents and children.
Tick tock: the second hand
Whether 5:31 am, 12:10 pm or 7:44 pm - your child knows the clock inside out. That's great. Now comes the icing on the cake, the second hand. This is not available on most learning watches. But that doesn't matter! Just pick a real watch. Maybe the one from the kitchen, which ticks particularly loudly anyway. Or your wrist watch that your child has always found exciting. Now the moment has come when it can finally take it in hand.
The ticking second hand does not show the exact time, but represents the progress of a minute. Your child already knows that a minute consists of 60 seconds. Using the second hand, it can now even track this in real time. 60 ticks and tacks of the same sound, which gradually bring the second hand close to 12. When this is finally reached, the large pointer is given a small push that takes it to the next line. Follow the journey of the second hand together while you explain it to your child in detail. Since it has already internalized the principle of the clock, this last step will absolutely no longer be an obstacle.
Reach your goal faster with these apps
Of course, learning and teaching the watch does not necessarily have to be limited to analog materials. Numerous apps, programs and games can support and facilitate this process.
Carlsen Verlag, for example, offers the "Conni Time" learning app (see video above), with which children can learn the time in a playful way with the help of the ready-to-teach and willing comic blonde Conni. The app is available for both Android and Apple devices.
"Time for children"
With the "Time for Children" app, Mogu Mogu Education provides a free version that brings your child closer to the clock in six increasingly difficult levels.
"Set the clock"
The developer Frank Guchelaar also has a digital product on the market with "Set the clock - learn to read the clock" for EUR 0.99, with the help of which children can learn to read the clock quickly and easily. The special thing about it is that people practice on wooden watches ... but of course on tablets and smartphones.
A little additional tip: Online games can also help your child learn the clock and be a lot of fun at the same time. Here you will find a small selection of mini-games that you can play with your children on smartphones, tablets or PCs, where you can playfully explore the watch and its features.
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