Are you struggling to support and encourage your child who can’t tell time? From the ages of 6 and 7, your child will be taught this life skill in schools, but if your little one is struggling or falling behind, then don’t worry – whilst this is likely a source of worry for your family, teaching children to independently read the time is often a challenging task and will probably require the use of additional resources and extra support. That’s why, at EasyRead Time Teacher, we are dedicated to making learning how to tell the time an accessible and engaging experience for any child or adult who can’t tell time. From engaging aids, to our EasyRead clocks, our resources and interactive tools make learning a fun and engaging experience and support parents and children alike to become confident in telling time.
The struggle of telling time
Learning how to read and understand the time is a crucial skill for any young child’s development. Not only is it important for their syllabus and academic development, but it also helps them understand the concept of the passing of time, manage their daily routines, and develop a sense of responsibility. However, some children may find it challenging to grasp this concept, leading to frustration, a sense of falling behind their peers, and concerns around their own capabilities. If your child can’t tell time or is struggling, then it’s important to identify the signs early on and understand the common reasons behind their difficulties.
The most obvious sign that your child is struggling with telling the time is their inability to read analogue clocks or understand the relationship between the hour and minute hands. For young children, many of the challenges come from low level confusion that arises in the moment, rather than a deep-rooted confusion around the passage of time and the overwhelming responsibility of learning to track this passage. However, if your child’s confusion comes from being unable to understand the relationship between numbers and time, or struggling with concepts like half past, quarter past, and quarter to, then their learning will greatly benefit from the inclusion of resources, games, or real-life examples into their daily routine. Additionally, if your child is consistently late or struggles to manage their personal time effectively, it could be an indication that they need additional support to develop their understanding of time.
Supportive strategies to help your child
If your child is having trouble developing this life skill, don’t worry – these difficulties are much more common than many parents realise, and there are several strategies you can employ to support their learning and help them become confident in this essential skill:
1. Use visual aids and resources: Visual aids, such as our EasyRead clocks, provide a tangible representation of time and make it easier for children to understand the relationship between the hour and minute hands. Our clocks and resources feature colour-coded circles for the different hands and clear labels for the 12/24 hour and past and to methods, making it easier for children to break down the overwhelming concept of time into smaller, actionable steps that make it easier to interpret the time.
2. Create a daily routine: Establishing a consistent daily routine is a quick and accessible way to help children develop their understanding of time progression and how it relates to their daily activities. Set regular times for meals, bedtime, and activities, and involve your child in following the schedule by encouraging them to remind you of the time, or by regularly asking them what time they perform a specific task and how much time they have left before then.
3. Break it down: Time is an overwhelming concept for small children, especially when faced with analogue clocks and complex concepts. In order to break down the learning process into smaller, manageable steps, start by teaching them to identify the hours, then move on to the half-hour, quarter-hour, and so on, backed up by consistently asking them to practise telling you the time. Gradually introduce more complex concepts as they become comfortable with the basics, including switching to the 12/24 hour method or introducing a digital clock.
4. Make it fun: Learning should be an enjoyable experience for children, particularly when learning an important skill that they will need to use for the rest of their lives. Incorporating games, activities, and resources into their time-telling practice will help your child come to see time as a puzzle to be solved, or an engaging activity, rather than a complex or overwhelming task, and will develop a positive relationship with managing their own time.
By employing these supportive strategies, you can help your child overcome their difficulties and develop a solid foundation in reading and understanding time. If you’re interested in exploring key educational resources to boost their understanding and practise reading the time, explore our recommendations below.
⦁ Using clocks for teaching and practising
Analogue and EasyRead clocks are invaluable tools when teaching children to understand and practise their time telling abilities. They provide a clear and easy-to-read display of the time, down to the minute, making it simpler for children to identify the current time quickly and with minimal confusion. Introducing clocks throughout your home creates a learning environment in which your child is constantly exposed to time-telling opportunities, without becoming overwhelmed by these new concepts, so here are some of our key recommendations.
- EasyRead Wall Clock: Hang this wall clock in your child’s bedroom or in their play area for the ideal introduction to reading the time. With their clear, easy-to-read designs and silent operation, our colourful clocks use either the past & to or 12/24 hour teaching methods and are perfect for the whole family to use to support your little ones’ time-telling skills.
- EasyRead Alarm Clock: Our alarm clocks feature a large, clear display with a simple design, silent sweeping movements, and an LED nightlight for a discreet and useful addition to your child’s bedside. They’re perfect for teaching children the basics of time-telling and means that they are able to read their clock if they wake up in the middle of the night, or if they wake up before it is time to get out of bed. They also feature a crescendo alarm and a built-in light sensor that matches the brightness of the room according to your child’s preferences.
- EasyRead Wrist Watch: A wristwatch is a portable and practical way for your child to practise reading the time on their own terms throughout the day. With their clear, colour-coded dials and simple teaching method, our watches make it easy for children to practise their time-telling abilities wherever they go, making it the ideal first watch for children aged 4 and above.
By incorporating our clocks into your home decor and your child’s daily routine, you can create a supportive environment for your child to practise and reinforce their time-telling skills.
⦁ Using games to practise and reinforce time-telling skills
Learning to read a clock doesn’t have to be a tedious task, particularly if your child is struggling more than their peers or is becoming overwhelmed by having to practise a skill that they don’t yet fully understand. To combat this, there are numerous fun activities and games you can incorporate into your child’s learning that will not only engage them, but also provide opportunities for them to practise and reinforce their time-telling capabilities whilst playing with friends or family.
If this sounds like the best course of action for you to take with your child who can’t tell time, then here is a rundown of our recommended activities and games from our range:
- Tell the Time Cards: Our cards feature engaging, interactive designs that support children to practise reading and interpreting the time at home. Our easy-to-use cards feature different times of the day and can be played in various ways, such as snap, matching pairs, buddy-up, and bingo, and are designed to cater to the abilities and needs of different age groups, ensuring that children of all ages can engage and learn at their own pace.
- TwinTime Cards: Our TwinTime Cards offer a unique and hands-on approach to interactive time telling practice. With a Past & To dial on one side and a 24-hour time dial on the other, our double-sided cards allow children to independently move the hands to display different times, and then quiz family members or friends on the displayed time. This game enhances children’s understanding of both methods of reading a clock and encourages critical thinking, but also supports other skills like counting forwards and backwards, learning fractions, and counting in 5s and 10s.
By incorporating these activities and games into your child’s learning routine, you can make the time-telling process an enjoyable and interactive experience.
⦁ Collaborative learning
Working with your child’s teacher to support their learning and develop a coordinated approach to practising is a proactive way to ensure your child has all the support and resources that they need. Teachers have access to various resources and strategies that can complement your efforts at home, including playground clocks and classroom sets, so, take the time to discuss your child’s struggles with their teacher and work together to identify the best strategies and resources to support their learning. This collaboration between home and school will provide your child with a well-rounded and consistent approach to learning this important life skill, giving them the best possible opportunity to overcome their struggles.
Celebrating your child’s progress with EasyRead Time Teacher
Teaching and supporting your child may present challenges, but with patience, support, and the right resources, they can develop this essential skill. If your child currently can’t tell time, then be sure to celebrate their progress, no matter how small, and continue to utilise our range of resources and aids to make the learning process engaging and enjoyable for both you and your child.
Explore our full range today, and equip your child with the resources and confidence they need to develop valuable time-management skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.