Skip to content Skip to footer

A Lifelong Skill: Introducing Children To The Concept Of Time

Understanding the concept of time is an important life skill, and introducing children to it early can significantly benefit their cognitive development. In this article, we will explore the importance of introducing children to the concept of time and provide guidance on going about it step by step.

Introducing children to the concept of time is a fundamental aspect of their cognitive development, yet it can be challenging. As youngsters grow and explore the world around them, they naturally ask questions like “When will we get there?” or “How long until it’s bedtime?” Understanding time, its passage, and its divisions is a complex cognitive skill that evolves with age. In this article, we will explore age-appropriate approaches to help parents introduce children to time. This will also build their ability to manage their daily routines and develop patience. It will help them grasp the broader concept of past, present, and future.

1. Why Teach Children About Time

a. Cognitive Development

Introducing children to the concept of time stimulates their cognitive development by building skills like memory, organization, and planning, all essential throughout life.

b. Lifelong Skill

Child's First Day At School- Concept Of Time

Time management and an understanding of time are crucial for success in various aspects of life, including school, work, and personal relationships. Teaching children about time sets them up for success.

2. Concept Of Time: Age-Appropriate Approaches

a. Early Years (Ages 2-4)

For young children, start with basic concepts. Use daily routines, such as meal times and bedtime, to introduce the idea of time. Simple tools like colourful timers can help them grasp the concept of waiting.

b. School-Aged (Ages 5-8)

time management-Concept Of Time

As children enter school, they can learn to read analogue clocks and calendars. Encourage them to use these tools and set up schedules for homework and playtime, gradually teaching them about the passage of hours and days.

3. Visual Aids

a. Clocks and Timers

Include analogue and digital clocks in your child’s environment. Teach them how to read the time, emphasizing the difference between hours and minutes. You can use timers for activities to show the limited duration of tasks.

b. Calendars

child writing calender-Concept Of Time

Introduce the concept of days, weeks, and months using a family calendar. Mark important events, birthdays, and special occasions. This visual aid helps children understand the progression of time over more extended periods.

4. Concept Of Time: Create a Daily Routine

a. Consistency

Establishing a consistent daily routine helps children anticipate events and recognize the flow of time. Consistency helps in the development of time-related concepts.

b. Responsibility

Family working together

Assign age-appropriate tasks to children within their routine. This not only instils a sense of responsibility but also helps them manage their time effectively.

5. Teach Time in Context

a. Storytelling

Use storytelling to explain the concepts of past, present, and future. Sharing personal anecdotes and experiences helps children understand the passage of time within a narrative.

b. Historical and Cultural Perspective

child and mother at art fair

Explore historical events and cultural celebrations with your child. This broadens their understanding of time, connecting it to the world.

6. Patience and Waiting

a. Delayed Gratification

Encourage children to practice delayed gratification. Waiting for rewards or anticipating special events teaches them the value of time and patience.

b. Time-Related Games


Engage in time-related games like “I Spy” or “What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?” These activities make learning about time enjoyable and interactive.

7. Concept Of Time: Setting Goals and Deadlines

a. Goal Setting

Teach children how to set achievable goals and allocate time for them. This skill is essential for time management and personal growth.

b. Meeting Deadlines

children doing homework

As children grow, emphasize the importance of meeting deadlines, whether for school projects or chores. This cultivates a sense of responsibility and accountability.

8. Be a Role Model

a. Time Management

Children often learn by observing their parents. Demonstrate effective time management, planning, and organization in daily life.

b. Family Time

couple announcing pregnancy

Allocate quality family time. Create memories and share experiences, reinforcing the value of time spent together.

Introducing children to the concept of time is a gift that keeps giving. It nurtures essential life skills, helps cognitive development, and sets the foundation for success. By using age-appropriate approaches, visual aids, daily routines, and practical applications, parents can empower their children to embrace the concept of time as a lifelong skill. Teaching the importance of patience, goal setting, and responsibility is crucial. Leading by example equips children with the tools they need to grow in a time-oriented world. Introducing children to the concept of time is an investment in their future, one that will pay dividends throughout their lives.

This article is approved by Dr. Nitin M, Consultant, Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospitals.

Leave a comment

the Kick-ass Multipurpose WordPress Theme

© 2024 Kicker. All Rights Reserved.