My 3-year-old wants a digital watch. Good or bad idea?

Watches – whether they are digital or analog -- are a fun way to get your preschooler excited about time. Rather than putting the focus on teaching children how to tell time, start by helping them understand the notion of time. For example, help your child get a feel for how long a minute or an hour is. You can do this in a number of fun ways. Try setting a timer for a minute and ask your child to tell you when a minute is over. Or set the timer for an hour and tell your child that when it goes off it is time to eat dinner. Making a list of your child’s favorite activities and talking about how long each of them takes is another great way to help your child understand the notion of time. Lastly, try talking about what your child did yesterday. Then ask what your child would like to do tomorrow. Doing so is a great way to help your child understand the difference between past and future.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.