Sunday, January 15, 2012

Teach Your Children to Keep Their Promises

Believe it or not, one of the most valuable gifts you can give your child is a wristwatch. And it’s not just because you can use it to teach your child how to tell time. It’s not even because you can keep tabs on your kid with the GPS locator built into some of today’s watches, although that’s definitely a plus. You can use a watch to help your child learn a whole lot more than you might think.

The Concept of Time

Of course, in order to use a wristwatch your child needs to understand the concept of time and be able to read a clock. You might start this process by connecting time to a predictable event, for instance, a television show or a play date. Show the child that when the clock shows a particular number, or the hands point to particular places on the clock face, the anticipated event will occur.

You can use the second hand to time how many seconds a short activity takes, such as changing clothes or picking up toys. Make the practice of timing small chores into a game where you and your child try to beat your best times. A bonus here is that your child (and you) will learn to work more quickly. And who doesn’t want that?

Teaching Responsibility

Once your child understands the basics of time and how to read a clock, giving the child a wristwatch is a logical next step. Anyone with a timepiece strapped to their wrist can know what time it is, no matter where they go. Giving children their own watches gives them responsibility over their time and actions. A child with a watch can learn to do tasks at particular times, without being directly told to. You could give your child a simple schedule for the day, showing the times for particular tasks or events—feeding the dog, eating lunch, or going to the park with Mom. If the watch has an alarm, the child can learn to listen for the alarm—and not Mom—to tell when it’s time to do the next task. This helps your child learn self-reliance.

Learning Trust

Through the use of a watch, children can learn to trust others as well. If you promise Billy that you’ll go swimming at 4:00, Billy knows that when his watch says 4:00, you’ll be off for a fun outing. That said, backing out on your promises will teach your children that you can’t be trusted. They’ll learn that promises don’t mean anything. So be sure to keep those appointments with your children at all costs, and treat the matter seriously if for some reason you can’t. As your kids learn that they can trust you and your promises, they’ll learn to have the trust in others that is necessary for good relationships. They’ll learn to keep their own promises.

They’ll also learn punctuality, if you demonstrate it to them. Because wearing a watch helps keep children aware of the time, they’ll notice if you keep your appointments to the letter. They’ll also notice if you are running late. As always, a parent’s example speaks volumes to a child. And using time as a backdrop for that example can give your children valuable skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Author Tanya Peterson resides in NYC and is a content contributor for, a Manhattan provider of fine watch repair services since 1978. Tanya's grandfather was in the antique watch business and it's been her fascination since childhood. 

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