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Study Skills and Attention

Time – understanding the concepts

This is essential to complete a range of tasks. If the child does not understand time concepts, this can result in it affecting all parts of his or her day, such as standing in the shower too long and therefore not being ready for school on time, or delaying starting homework because he or she is still watching a programme on TV.


Ideas to Help

See whether the child prefers to use a digital or an analogue clock. Some children like to see the clock face to see time passing, whereas other children prefer a digital clock where time is exact and they can read the changing numbers.

Try using an egg timer when asking the child to remain at a task. Start with short but achievable targets, for example for 5 minutes. You can then gradually build up the time as the child becomes more aware. An alarm with a sound or buzzer is useful so he/she can hear when time is up.

Talk about how long regular or repeated events take e.g. “the car journey to grandma’s house takes 15 minutes”; “the walk to school takes 10 minutes”. Then use this concept when explaining time.

For example, “You need to do your homework for 15 minutes, which is the same time it takes to get to grandma’s house”.

Alternatively use a mobile phone which can be preset to ring at certain times such as every 10 minutes, to move the child along a process such as completing homework, or as a prompt to move him or her on to the next task.