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Helping Toddlers Develop a Sense Of Time

by Marnie Bii | February 5th, 2024 | Development, Infants/Toddlers

For toddlers, every minute seems to last a lifetime. Therefore, the phrase “just one more minute” is a highly dreaded thing to hear. You can help your toddler develop a sense of time, and a lick of patience, by utilizing a few key strategies. This task will keep you incredibly honest about timing, so be prepared for an eye opening experience. Here’s how to get started on helping your toddler develop impeccable timing.

Stick to a Routine

An established routine sets the foundation for learning a sense of time. The routine should at least center around meal and naptimes at first. You do not need to keep activities strict for success, just timing of the big events of the day. Only allow a delay of up to thirty minutes to keep your routine on a good time schedule. If there are ever delays, talk to your toddler about the reasons and the timing of the situation.

Remain Highly Accurate

If you say that you will need a minute to complete a task, you must make sure that you maintain that time schedule. Saying you need a minute and then taking ten will definitely confuse your toddler’s sense of time. If you are unsure, say you need a few minutes, set a timer for the activity, and then discuss how long it took afterward. By doing so, you will develop a better idea on how long to say each activity will take.

Use Clear Language

Use grown up language to talk to your toddler about time. Your toddler may not immediately understand the information provided, but it will act as a foundation for later learning. Discuss how many minutes are in an hour and how many seconds in a minute to help your toddler understand how time works. You can also go into the meaning behind few, couple and many for better understanding when asked for a vague timetable.

Read Clock Books

Reading clock books is a fun way to start the process of actually learning how to tell time. Most of the books have a clock integrated into the pages that you can use to turn the hands to the right time. As you read, turn the hands on the clock and have your toddler take a peek. Your toddler will start to memorize the meaning of each dot on the clock while building knowledge about counting up to twelve by ones and sixty by fives.

These lessons will help your toddler develop an internal clock that enables a healthy lifestyle in the future. As you work with your toddler, watch for developing misconceptions and make corrections as necessary. The effort you put into this process will definitely pay in dividends in the future. Although you may feel like the lessons are not taking hold at first, your toddler will exhibit understanding within just a few short months, if not sooner. Be patient with the process and use it to perfect your own sense of time, especially if you are often running late.

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