As a child’s brain develops, their neural connections become better equipped to comprehend concepts, that once were too advanced for them. For example, the idea of object permanence (and the end of fascination with peek-a-boo!) or understanding the reality of dangers and consequences are intellectual growths we acquire with age. The same holds true for telling time.
So, how old should your children be when you teach them about time?
Even though your 3-year-old may be able to read a digital clock, the concept of time will still be very abstract to her. That’s why schools wisely teach clock-reading the old-fashioned way, since as the hands move around the face, a child begins to grasp the relative values of hours, minutes, and seconds.
Most kids are introduced to the concept of time in kindergarten, but they don’t really master the skill of reading a clock until around 7 or 8. To encourage your child, let her wear an inexpensive, fun watch (not a digital). Every now and then you can talk to her about what time it is and even use the watch to illustrate how long certain activities will take, like a walk around the block or the drive to Grandma’s house.