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Tips for Teaching Your Child to Tell Time

I remember when I first had my daughter then my son. My kids are all 4 years apart except for the youngest who came 8 years after I had my last son. Surprisingly they were all born on a leap year and no it wasn't planned. I've had people ask me that when I tell them. My oldest (my daughter) was pretty easy with everything. She learned her alphabet, her numbers and even potty trained by the time she was a year and a half. My now teenage son was a little bit different. While he's always been good at math it took me some time for him to learn how to do things. One of those was learning how to tell the time. Have you wanted to teach your child to tell time, but you aren’t sure where to start? Well I have some tips for you for teaching your child to tell time from start to finish.

Numbers are important.

Before your child can tell time, he or she needs to know basic numbers up to 60. They will need to know how to count by ones but also how to count by fives. Of course, this is going to depend on what clock you plan on teaching your child to tell time from. Digital clocks do not require someone to be able to count by fives.

Get a clock that’s large enough.

It’s hard to teach numbers on the clock when you have a tiny clock. In order to teach your child how to tell time, make sure you get a clock that’s large enough. You can look on Amazon, eBay, or even a local store for a clock that has big hands. If you’re teaching your child about telling time on a digital clock, you will want a digital clock with big numbers.

Help your child know what the minute hand is.

To help your child properly learn how to tell time, it’s best to get a clock that has a larger minute hand than hour hand. Also, it’s important to show your child where the minute “place” is on a digital clock. Show your child what the minute hand means on the clock when you’re reading it. Practice counting as the minute hand ticks around the clock.

Help your child understand what an hour hand is.

The hour hand is probably one of the easiest things to read on a clock. It has one purpose and that’s to show what hour of the day it is. After your child has mastered learning what the hour and minute hands are they can begin to learn the basics of time telling.

Counting by Fives

Earlier, I mentioned the importance of learning to count by fives (some kids by do better by learning how to multiply by 5’s). When you’re looking at a clock and trying to tell what time it is in minutes, your child will have to know that 1 means (5 minutes) and 2 means (10 minutes) and so on all the way to 12.


Learning to tell time is really all about “practicing.” It’s easy for adults to tell time because we’ve been telling time for so many years. After all practice makes perfect. Be patient with your child as they learn this hard concept and eventually they'll be telling time like a pro.

What are some tips you have for teaching your child to tell time?

Annmarie John
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  1. I actually didn't. It's something they learn in school anyways, so I let their teachers take care of it :)

  2. Great tips and we actually have used an iPad app here that was suggested to me by another blogger friend, but definitely might try this, too to reinforce the concept. So, thank you!!!

  3. Great tips! Time was one of the first things I had taught my daughter when I started homeschooling her. She's almost 9 so I was shocked it wasn't taught yet. I used some really great printable and she learned in minutes! - - jeanine

  4. Great tips! Time was one of the first things I had taught my daughter when I started homeschooling her. She's almost 9 so I was shocked it wasn't taught yet. I used some really great printable and she learned in minutes! - - jeanine

  5. Really good tips! No one noticed that I didn't know how to tell time until I was in 5th grade! Anyway, I got the hang of it quick, and I'll be sure my 6 year old knows way before then!

  6. These are great tips! I am always reminding my daughter to look at the clock so she learns her numbers, but also so she doesn't become dependent on digital clocks! So many kids cannot tell time via analog!

  7. Great tips. At teacher stores, they have plastic clocks that you can use and manipulate to help children learn to tell time.

  8. such a great article and awesome tips. My husband and I are always reminding our daughter to tell time and watch the traditional clock instead of looking at the digital time.

  9. These are some good tips. They are all important too. Many parents will benefit from reading this.

  10. Awesome tips! My twin granddaughters will be learning how to tell the time soon. I will definitely take note of these tips.

  11. It really helps to have a big clock. It would also be nice to familiarize them with the minutes hand.

  12. These tips are such great timing! Our 3.5 year old is itching to tell time - right now, everything is either noon or 6:30... ;)

  13. Those are amazing tips. My mom taught my daughter how to read time and she used a large clock.

  14. We just practiced telling time at breakfast this morning. We have a magnetic board that makes it easy. It's fun. :)

  15. I don't remember how I learned to tell time but I do remember I learned in school. I will keep these tips in mind.


[name=AnnMarie John] [img=] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook= (instagram= (twitter= (pinterest= (

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