You know you get those smug parents, the ones that say “Oh Rupert was reading Shakespeare at age six”.  Their smugness will always be short lived. Because as much as kids learning to read is wonderful, it also signifies the end of conversations with spelt out code words between you and your husband.  Life changes when kids learn to read.  

But life changes even more so when kids learn to tell time, and no parent in the history of the world has ever been smug about their kid telling time.  So If you are thinking of giving little Johnny a helping hand, don’t do it!  You will rue the day you decided to teach your kids to tell time.


Reasons Not To Teach Your Kids To Tell Time

teach your kids to tell time


1 Their attention to detail.

Husband: “Why are you so tired?”

Me: “Late night and Big was up at six thirty.”

Big: “No I wasn’t.  It was six thirty two.”


2 They hold you to your word.  Your EXACT word.

You know when you say, “Ok, give me five minutes and we’ll do that”, or “I’ll be back in a minute, I’m just going to the loo”.  And by “five minutes” you really meant, “I’m just going to get some chores done for as long as I can before you two start killing each other again” or, “I am just going for a wee and some ‘me time’ and shove as many chocolate biscuits in my face until one of you needs your arse wiping”.  

Once they can tell time kids hold you to your word. Time’s up.  Five minutes is really five minutes.  You can even add to this fun by having them wear a watch with a timer that Grandma bought them, so even if they got distracted from timing how long it takes you to pee, the beeping from their watch will alert them to the fact that your time is up.


3 They will drive you insane.

Remember when it used to be cute when they would count down how many more sleeps until their birthday.  When they can tell time count downs are no longer cute.  They are just really really really annoying.  

“Twenty minutes until Nana gets here Mummy.” 

“Nineteen minutes till Nana gets here Mummy.”

“Eighteen minutes till Nana gets here Mummy.”

“Seventeen minutes until Nana gets here Mummy.”

“Still seventeen minutes till Nana gets here Mummy.”

Some time later…

“Three minutes till Nana gets here Mummy.”

“Two minutes till Nana gets here Mummy.”

“One minute till Nana gets here Mummy.”

“Nana should be here now Mummy.”

“Nana is one minute late Mummy.”

Some more time later…

“Nana is five minutes late Mummy.  You said she was coming at 10:30 and it’s now 10:35.”

“Nana is six minutes late Mummy.  You said she was coming at 10:30 and it’s now 10:36.”

“Nana is seven minutes late Mummy.  You said she was coming at 10:30 and it’s now 10:37.”



4 They have more bargaining power.

Bribing your kids used to be simple.  You ask them to do something, they ignore you.  You tell them if they do it they can stay up for an extra five minutes, and they comply. Once they can tell time they soon realise that five minutes isn’t that long, and you suddenly find yourself negotiating with your pint sized time dictator over another two minutes and thirty-five seconds, and wondering what has become of your life.


5 Everything in your life will be timed.

How long it takes to get to the shops, how long you are in the shops, how long you are in the queue.  When they learn the twenty-four hour clock it does really feel like you are living with a military sergeant.  And despite the fact that in three years of school runs you have only ever been late once, (due to the time dictator refusing to go to school), now any minor infraction of the morning routine, such as the toddler stopping to pick up sticks, causes a very dramatic “We are going to be LATE” reaction.  Which of course you are not, as you know to allow for stick stoppages, but it is still your fault anyway.   


6 You will be late for things because of your child’s time keeping

Yes I am running late because I have been hunting for your swimming cap for the last ten minutes, and your brother decided he needed a poo just as we were ready to leave, but if you hadn’t interrupted me every twenty-four seconds to ask me at least four times, when we were leaving, to tell me the time, to tell me we were going to be late, and ask how long it was going to take to get there, we might have actually left on time!


teach your kids to tell time


So that is why you should not teach your kids to tell time.  Do you need anymore convincing? What do they really need to know the time for anyway? 


If you would like to drive yourself slightly insane then these are a few products I recommend to help you teach your kids to tell time.  Please note that these are affiliate links, so I earn a small percentage when you click and buy.

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Why you shouldn't teach your kids to tell time #humour #parenting

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Claire Kirby

21 Comments on Why You Shouldn’t Teach Your Kids To Tell Time

  1. OH MY WORD!!! One of my students got a new watch. One of those fancy ones that can go down deep in the ocean…beeps at random times. Even has the ability to set 1,845 alarms at once. I teach 4th. He has become the time keeper. If we go 1 minute past lunch I hear about it. Mrs. A….lunch started one minute ago…Well student…let me finish this lesson…it is ok if we start lunch at 5 after. Mrs. A can you help me set the alarm to remind me when school ends…Me….you will know school is over because the building will be empty and I will be running to my car! So funny! But spot on. #fridayfrolics

  2. I am so dreading this! I can still get away with lying to my toddler about things like time, but she’s twigged to a lot of my little white lies already. Brilliant post x #fridayfrolics

    • To be fair he has settled down a bit. He only used to wear his watch on weekend because I said no to wearing it at school. Over the summer holidays he was wearing it every day and was very obsessive. In the end we took it off him. He is now back to just weekends and much better. I’ve heard of limiting screen time, but watch time!?!?

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