SmileTutor Blog Parents Teaching Tips How to Teach Your Preschooler the Concept of Time

How to Teach Your Preschooler the Concept of Time

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The concept of time can be tricky, and learning it is a complicated process. So we should begin teaching our preschoolers the concept of time as soon as possible. But are they too young to understand?

Studies show that the best age to start teaching your child about time is around 6 years old. Teaching them the concept is also not as difficult as you might think because here are some tips for you to teach your preschooler the concept of time – easy mode.

Introduce the Concept


Your preschooler needs to understand the concept of time, so before starting out with anything complex, you should introduce it to them. You can do this by associating different activities with various parts of the day.

Follow this template: you do ‘this activity’ at ‘this time of day’. For example, your child eats breakfast in the morning. When you do this, your preschooler learns to relate to and identify recurring events at different times of the day.

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Do note that teaching morning and night is more straightforward than teaching afternoon and evening, start with morning and night first, then introduce afternoon and evening after.

Teach Them how the Clock Works


One of the most important components of time is the clock. Learning how the clock works is essential to telling time, so we must teach our preschoolers how clocks work. But how can we do that?

Here are some ways:
1. Explain to them what the different hands are for. You can start with the minute hand and hour hand, if your clock has a second hand, teach them only when they are slightly older or completely understand the minute and hour hand.

2. Next, you need to explain to them how the hands move. Every 60 seconds, the minute hand moves, and every 60 minutes, the hour hand moves. This gives them a sense of time and how long it takes before the hands move.

3. Reading hand positions on the clock is very important, so try telling time with them until they get the hang of it. You can do this at home and at random intervals, read the time with your preschooler.

This helps them to understand and get more experience with telling time.

4. You can also use an analog toy where you give your preschooler a time, and your preschooler has to arrange the hands to the correct position.

Read Books and Watch Television


One way you can get your preschooler to learn more about time is by letting them read books and watch television series.

This makes learning about time more interesting and fun since it is an engaging experience for them, especially with songs, rhymes, and playful characters!

Here are some books and television series that I recommend:
1. Numberblocks
2. Sesame Street
3. The Clock Struck One: A Time-Telling Tale (book)
4. Telling Time With Big Mama Cat (book)

Or alternatively, you can search up on YouTube, where there are many videos on telling time available for your preschooler to watch! Have fun!

Associate Tasks with Different Times


Once your preschooler is more familiar with the concept of time, they need to practise telling time. One way to do that is by associating tasks with different times.

For example, your preschooler has dinner at 7p.m., get them to use a toy analog clock and arrange the hands to the correct position. In this case, the long hand points to 12 and the short hand points to seven.

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Practise doing this with other tasks like bedtime, breakfast and going to school. This also helps your preschooler get used to their everyday routine and makes them more aware of the time.

Draw a Clock


Of course, to make sure that your preschooler completely understands the concept of time, you should test them! Get them to draw a clock on sheets of paper using coloured pens or crayons.

If they know how to read time, you can also get them to draw out the hands on the clock, then from there practise telling the time with them.



Teaching your preschooler the concept of time can be tough, so we need to make it simpler and relatable for them. This makes it easier for them to understand the concept of time.

I hope this article shows you an easier way to teach your preschooler the concept of time. Good luck!

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.