A Matter of Time: Teaching Kids How to Tell Time

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Project Description

For the past few months, my 3-year-old has peppered me with time-related questions. “Tomorrow will I wear my white shoes?” she asks as I put her black Mary Janes on. “We can play hide-and-seek after lunch?” she inquires as I set the table. Those are the easy ones. “Soon I will be a baby again?” and “Tomorrow will be my birthday?” (an event that is six months away) leave me scrambling for an answer she can process.

Experts say that her limited grasp of minutes, hours, days, and months is typical for her age. “Preschoolers tend to live in the moment,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. The part of the brain that handles abstract thinking is still developing, making it difficult for kids this age to understand why they have to wait a few hours for Mom and Dad to take them to the playground or the difference between five and seven o’clock. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to satisfy your child’s growing curiosity and make the concepts of time more relevant to her everyday life.

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Shannon Greer
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