How to Teach Kids to Tell the Time

How to Teach Kids to Tell the Time

Telling time is a tricky business, especially for kids.  Here’s the advise from WikiHow:

Kids need to be able to count to 60 (in the correct order!) in order to tell time. Have your child write down the numbers 1 through 60 on a piece of paper. As they write each number, have them recite the number as well. Post this piece of paper on a wall and have them recite the numbers regularly.

  • While you are out in public, like at the grocery store, point out double-digit numbers and have your child repeat the number to you.
  • Use counting songs to help your child practice counting. For instance, you could sing, “100 Bottles of Milk” together. Look for other counting songs online.
  • To encourage your child to learn, make sure to reward them with playtime or their favorite snack for doing a good job.


Practice counting by fives. Understanding groups of five will also make learning to tell time much easier. Have your child write down increments of five on a sheet of paper up to 60. As they write the numbers, have them recite them as well. Make sure to point out that each number either ends in a 5 or a 0.

  • Make a special “Count by 5s” song to a catchy tune your kid can sing along to. You can even add dance moves to the song; for example, at every quarter, you put your hands in the air or stomp your feet. Sing this song regularly with your kid to help them become comfortable with counting by 5s.
  • You can also find song about counting by fives online, such as on YouTube.


Teach them the general concept of time. General concepts of time are the morning, noon, the evening, and nighttime. Familiarize your kid with these concepts by associating each concept with certain activities. Then quiz your kid by asking them when certain things happen.[3]

  • For example, “In the morning we eat breakfast and brush our teeth. At noon, we eat lunch and take a nap. At night, we read a book and go to sleep.”
  • You can ask your kid, “What happens in the morning?” and “What happens at night?”
  • You can post a daily schedule chart so your child has a visual that shows the different things they do during the day. Refer to the chart when explaining the times of various daily events.


There’s plenty more to it of course.  I remember my father using my mother’s lipstick to write on the glass front of our kitchen clock, ‘to’ and ‘past’ as part of my learning.

But these days there are plenty of aids, and we particularly like the learning clocks available (Click here to see them!)

Chris Herbert