By on July 5, 2013

“Mom, when is dinner?” “Dad, Iʼm tired. When do we arrive?” “Mom, how long does it take to charge my gameʼs battery?”

These are questions every parent is familiar with. My son has always shown a keen interest in matters of time. When he is bored and starving he asks me what time dinner will be served. I often would reply to him, “Soon. Wait a little.” He would go to the sofa, stretch his legs and watch TV while waiting. But as he grew older, the same reply no longer worked. He wanted more.

The concept of time
“According to psychologists, before a child is made to tell time properly, he must first of all understand its concept. At 2 years old,  he understands the meaning of “soon” and “now”. Then he gradually adds “later”, then “tomorrow” or “yesterday” . At 5 years old, he starts developing the idea that time is real!

Give talking examples
To enable him to actually visualize the passing of time and better understand the principle of needles that turn, use a timer or an hourglass when you boil eggs. Give him the basic drill, lean on the path of the sun. When it rises, it is morning. At noon, it is high in the sky and there is no shadow. In the evening it sets low. You will no doubt engage his interest, if you demonstrate it with an attractive clock.

Before even going any further on the subject of time, check that he has a good understanding of time and space, and is able to differentiate between the job of the big hand and the small hand.

Motivate the kid to learn about time by giving him a watch as a reward instead of a gift. Choose a manual one with needles rather than a digital display. This will help him see the actual passage of time.

On a round white paper plate write the numbers in black ink on the sides. Use stickies to make the needles. Shorten the minute hand and pin it with the hour’s. Prepare another paper plate and do the same but paint it dark blue. Use white markers to write the numbers and use light colors to make the hands. With two faces (day and night), your child can better distinguish 9 am from 9 pm. Use actual examples that he can identify with like “What time is school?” or “What time does Mom cook dinner everyday?” to get him up to speed. It is important that he understands how to count up to 60 and by fives. Remember to each in small doses. Tell him about half an hour today then quarters of an hour a week after. To know how much he understands after each session, give him drills and go back to explaining if he could not catch up.

The idea is to get him there gradually.

About Julie Wilson