Children love to wear watches because it makes them feel grown-up, but parents have many reasons to love plastic kid's watches as well. These affordable and durable accessories can play a key role in teaching numbers and number sense, developing a sense of time, and perhaps most importantly, developing a sense of responsibility.
Teach Children Numbers with Plastic Watches
Three- and four-year-olds who love to count to 10 can easily learn to count much higher with the help of a simple boy's or girl's digital watch. In fact, they may not even notice they are learning as they "help" mommy or daddy by reading the time. Younger children may just name the digits or read just the hour, while five- and six-year-olds can read both the hour and the minute. Besides number recognition, children's watches help build number sense, as the child notices the progression of minutes from 1 to 59. Analogue plastic watches are also useful for teaching the numbers 1 to 12, but they make it harder to teach bigger numbers to very young children.
Help Children Develop a Sense of Time
Young children often have a very vague understanding of terms related to time, such as "morning", "evening", and "afternoon", and an even more dubious understanding of time expressions, such as "one hour" or "15 minutes." A kid's toy watch provides an excellent way for a child to learn and observe the passage of time. With statements similar to "We can go to the park when your watch says 4 o'clock", parents can encourage their children to learn while reducing the constant stream of questions, such as "Is it time for the park yet?" Parents can even make time the basis for games. For example, the parent and child each make an estimate of how long a given task is likely to take. They time it with the help of the child's watch, and the winner is the one who gave the closest estimate. Older children might enjoy a plastic sports watch with a chronograph feature for timing things.
Teach Responsibility and Time Management
Having to nag children about chores is one of the principal complaints of parents around the world. A boy's or girl's watch with the child's favourite Disney characters can help teach responsibility in a fair and objective way. Once a child has a clear understanding of time, parents can set time limits for chores. Children deal with consequences when failing to complete a chore by a certain time of day and get rewards for doing them on time. By agreeing to the consequences and rewards beforehand, children are empowered to take charge of their time. Note that this system caters to slightly older children, from age 7 or 8 through the teens.