Q: When will my child be able to tell time?

A: Even though your 3-year-old may be able to read a digital clock, the concept of time will still be very abstract to her. That's why schools wisely teach clock-reading the old-fashioned way, since as the hands move around the face, a child begins to grasp the relative values of hours, minutes, and seconds. Most kids are introduced to the concept of time in kindergarten, but they don't really master the skill of reading a clock until around 7 or 8. To encourage your child, let her wear an inexpensive, fun watch (not a digital). Every now and then you can talk to her about what time it is and even use the watch to illustrate how long certain activities will take, like a walk around the block or the drive to Grandma's house. --Deborah Skolnik

Copyright 2005. Reprinted with permission from the April 2005 issue of Parents magazine.

Answered by Parents Team