Three reasons why your child cannot tell the time

Three reasons why your child cannot tell the time

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Learning to tell the time can be one of the most confusing tasks child have to learn. And if you imagine you didn’t know how to tell the time it is quite a confusing process.

Telling the time was created in a time where the process of logic was not fully tested when developing the concept of a watch or a clock.

Here are three reasons why learning to tell the time can be a minefield.

1. There are three different hands on the clock

I always remembered this sketch from when I was a child performed by David Allen ‘Teaching your children how to tell the time’ (when you have the time watch the whole sketch, it will have you in stitches!). Pay attention to his conversation with his imaginary child as he is explaining the different hands on the clock. The descriptions of the hands of the clock completely contradict the function of the hand that follows it. Three different hands on the clock means that a person has to learn how to function in three different measurements at the same time. it’s like telling a child to drink three different beverages from three different cups!

Dave Allen – “Teaching Your Kid Time” – ’93

Dave Allen – 'Teaching Your Kid Time' – '93 – stereo HQ from Clinton Jordan on Vimeo.

2. Children Live in the Digital Age

From smart phone to ipad, laptop to car clock, we are surrounded by many digital representations of the clock or watch. When the idea of the clock was conceived critical thinking was not as refined as it is today. Children are forced to learn analogue thinking in an information age. It’s no wonder children find it hard to convert their thinking from a analogue clock face to a digital one, look at the differences between analogue and digital thinking:

Digital Analogue
Numbers are presented in size order (largest to smallest) i.e. Hours, minutes, seconds, 3 independent arms which we call ‘hands’.
There different scales on the clock face
1.Measure minutes and seconds
2.Measure up to 12in
addition to this there measurement markers in patterns of 5
Digital format displays 24 hours in the day The12 hour dial represents 2 sets of 12 hours mid day and mid night (24 hours in a day)
Digital clock uses number sequence Analogue clock is divided into Past tense and future tense


3. Children do not have a concept of time.

“ You’ve got 24hrs to live!”, “She’s on in five”, “I’ll be there in a minute” are all famous phrases concerning the measurement of time. Young children have freedom not to be accountable to time until they are accountable to an institution like school for example. When the importance of marking time with a noteworthy occasion is implemented, children then start to pay attention to the indicators for example everyones favourite occasion, LUNCHTIME! Studies have shown that when the occasion is made attractive people pay a closer attention not only to the time of the occasion, but to the time leading up to it.

Let us know if these reasons make you tick 😉 Please share your ideas why you think children can’t tell the time we would love to hear!

In the meantime CLICK HERE if you want your children to learn how to tell the time.
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