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Gently assess how much your child has understood about time by asking lots of ‘open’ questions. An open question cannot usually be answered in one word. Your child will have to compose a sentence to answer it. Be aware if your child just repeats a phrase or sentence that you have previously used to explain something. This does not necessarily demonstrate understanding. Children can hear a word in your question and remember the sentence you used to explain and repeat it. You must always strive to ask the same question in lots of different ways to truly ascertain if your child has understood.


Can they discuss and explain the different aspects of time passing and how they are linked; seasons, years, months, dates, days?

Do they understand that a clock measures the time passing in a day?


Children will often be able to tell you it’s 10 o’clock by looking at the clock but not really understand what this means, such as; it is the morning because it’s before midday, the day is 10 hours old, they have been awake 3 hours, lunch is in 2 hours etc. They have just remembered what to say when the clock face looks like this.  Just like memorising times tables, this is a valid skill, but does not demonstrate that they can understand time or use the clock and its time appropriately.


Do not be disheartened if your child has not retained the information from last week, this concept has to be revisited often. It takes several discussions in a variety of situations for the concept to be embedded.

Once you are confident your child understands why and how time and the clock operate, you can begin to introduce o’clock using the clock they made last week. Begin with you moving the hands on the clock to various times and your child must tell you the time it says; 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock etc.


Next, your child has the clock and tries to make it match the times you call out. Check that they are using the hour and minute hands correctly.