Tips and tools for learning at home

Learning to read the time is a complex subject for a child. First, learning to read the time and master the calculations of time periods on an analog clock, is accomplished over several years.

Then a 4-year-old can already begin to be taught the concept of the clock. Using a color code makes it much easier to understand!

Now, here is what I recommend to you to start this learning, the very first thing to do is get an analog clock!

Many homes no longer have an analog clock at home, so get one at home this is a first step!

Next, explain the different parts of the clock to the child.


There are 2 sets of numbers, the large numbers represent the hours and the small numbers represent the minutes.

To read the time, you have to point and name 2 digits. We start with the big numbers, then the small numbers.

One day has the following number of hours: 2 rounds of 12 hours.

By pointing with your finger, you make 2 turns above the hours, to show clearly, in a clockwise direction.

Each hour has 60 minutes. By pointing with your finger, you make 1 turn over the minutes, clockwise.

The clock hands

You explain that the small hand is used to identify the current time.

You must name the time starting with the large number to which the small hand is pointing.

Then, the large hand is used to identify the current minute. The hour must be named with the small number to which the large hand points.

And the hand that turns too fast to follow the number is the seconds hand.

There are 60 seconds in a minute, so there are a lot of seconds in a day!

See here that the color code used by OLOfusion facilitates these explanations.

Red for the hours and blue for the minutes!


Daily learning

Then, on a regular basis, ask the child to tell us the time.

If you see that the child is having difficulty, read the time for him by pointing to the clock elements.

Try to identify the important times of the day, leaving for school, supper time, bedtime, …

In this way, your child will be able to make more and more easily the links between the passing of time and his own routine. The more he masters reading the analog clock, the more he will feel he has control over his routine and will develop his autonomy!

Good learning!



  1. Annie Harvey, A Little Guide to Learning to Tell Time,, May 14, 2018
  2. TELUQ,, Last modified May 19, 2019 at 08:42.
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