Making Time Make Sense


Most preschool-aged children are not ready to fully grasp the concept of time. By breaking down predictable parts of their day, you will help your child begin to make sense of time.

Tools and Materials

paper and writing tools, spiral notebook, index cards, magazines, scissors

Steps to take

Talk about events that have occurred or are occurring or review yesterday, today and tomorrow with your child briefly.

At Home

If you have a few minutes

  • Have predictable routines or activities for parts of your day. For example "Every night before you put on your pajamas, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, brush your teeth, get in bed, read a story, and I kiss you goodnight." Talk about these steps often with your child and ask them, "What do we do next?" (This can be done for morning time, meal times, any part of your day that can have a set routine). Have your child draw pictures of these events and put them in sequence (you could also cut pictures from a magazine). Have fun with it! Place the event out of order, "What would happen if we read our story before we brushed our teeth?"

If you have more time

  • At the end of each day, have your child record the favorite part of their day in a journal. When they are done you can add their words to the picture and review past events.

On the Go

If you have a few minutes   

  • Review your routine with your child. On your way to school say, "You already woke up, got dressed, had breakfast and brushed your teeth? What are we going to do next?"
  • Have discussions with your child about yesterday, today and tomorrow with your child. "Yesterday we swam in the pool, what did we do today?" "Tomorrow we will go to grandma's."

Words to Know

begin end afternoon start    finish    first   next  last    morning before   after early late then yesterday today    tomorrow    

Possible Observations

Puts pictures in a typical sequence; follows a routine; writes or draws to describe activities; manipulates pencils and scissors; uses words related to time