I bumped to some problems with my toddler and how he couldn’t understand how time worked. He’s 3 years old and I had to find a way to explain this to him. This Teaching Your Toddler About Time article contains the methods I found and worked on him. He can’t learn the clock yet, obviously, so my way only makes him understand past and present in regards of our own routine. He still has trouble with it, but it got easier for me to explain when something will happen, or did happen, using these teaching techniques.
Teaching Your Toddler About Time will get easier if you try using these 3 methods I found. Make sure you shape them to your own schedule, and making them with your toddler could help him understand even better.
Start by making a list with the most clear activities your child has during the day, after he gets up. Things like eating, playing/kindergarten, napping or quiet time, bath time. Find a cardboard big enough so you can have enough space to draw and add stickers to every activity. I took a large bowl and drew a circle on, cut it down, and glue white paper on it. Divide the circle in 2. On the left it’s going to be night time, so you’ll have a lot of room for sleeping drawings and stickers, moon, stars and add things he can identify himself in it, like his favorite toy sleeping with a boy. Don’t worry if you’re not good at drawing, you can easily find almost any picture you want online. Just print it, cut it and paint it, or get one that is already colored.
Then count the activities he has during the day and divide the other half (you could make this part a little bigger than the night, so you have more room if you want) in as many parts as you need. Draw or glue representative images for each activity. If you have stickers that are related to your chart, he can help you find the right images for each action and stick them in the right spot.
The Week Chart
My boy kept asking me when he’ll stay home and not go to kindergarten, and “in the weekend” or “two days from now” didn’t mean much to him. So we made this simple chart with every day of the week (in our own language, but you’ll understand the general idea) and some kind of bookmark that can be moved so you can mark each day. Remember to mention to him what day was yesterday and what day will be tomorrow, and point that out on the chart. Also make connections of things he usually does every Sunday for example, so he can understand time in relations to things he already knows. Let him move the bookmark each day, answer his questions regarding activities he expects and point them out on the chart.
The Countdown Calendar
You can buy him a regular calendar, like this Calendar Planner 1 or Calendar Planner 2 and mark the day, or just draw one every time something important is going to happen and he keeps asking when that will be, like when grandma is going to visit, or when you’ll leave for your vacation. I simply draw the remaining days up to the day he’s expecting and anxious to come. Each day I point the “calendar” and give him a pen to mark the day, and let him count the remaining days. He loves to do the little X-s to the days and count them down. You can use stickers instead and help him count if there are too many days for him.
These methods of Teaching your Toddler About Time are very fun for him and easy to learn. It will take time, but it will became easier for you to explain, always going to the calendar or the clock to show him and help him remember. And, let’s face it, any kid will get excited to learn, as long as it involves stickers. Come back to let us know what you think and how it went, or for any questions you might have. Have fun!