Teaching Time Concepts And Fall Back


In the Eastern USA (we are in Atlanta, GA), we turn our clocks back an hour tonight (Sunday Nov. 3rd at 2am).

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Daylight saving time (DST)—also summer time in British English— is the practice of advancing clocks during the lighter months so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less. Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn.

For some reason, I’ve been feeling more tired lately in the mornings (probably because it is so dark), so I am truly looking forward to gaining an hour and having more early morning daylight. I am a true morning person and hate when it’s so deeply dark in the mornings.


We have been teaching our kids about time concepts even before they could read (or read well). Part of why I taught them so early is because I had a very difficult time grasping time concepts when I was in elementary and middle schools. I really don’t know why, but I think it was because adults may have just assumed that I knew. However, I didn’t know how to read an analog clock properly until I was about 12 to 14 years old.

Even though it’s embarrassing to admit that, I own up to it so that I can be vigilant to make sure our kids get time concepts. So, over the past several years, explaining DST (daylight savings time) to them has been like pulling teeth, but when I asked them about it the other day, all three of them actually get it. They used to think they’d lose an hour in the Fall. But now they understand that they get to sleep in when time Falls Back and are excited about it, just as much as I am.


So, we have used manipulatives, like paper clocks, to teach our kids about analog time. That helped to introduce the concepts, but, the real learning came when they were forced to use real analog clocks in real life situations. However, our house is filled with digital clocks in pretty much every room. So, what did I do?

I disabled all of the digital clocks. You should have heard their whines when I did it, too. However, at the end of that month, they knew how to tell time.

How do you teach your kids time concepts?

I look forward to hearing how you make it fun and easy for your kids to learn time concepts. Please share.

~Donna Marie, The Mommy Butterfly