The Madame Irma method will help your child understand time. Just like a grown-up!
Specifically designed for children aged between 3 and 6, the Madame Irma method helps them understand time using concepts that they are familiar with: its fun animals and bright colours inspire confidence in them from the very beginning. Naturally curious, they want to find out more and learn how it works!
In no time at all, they’ll be playing with the colours and animals. You can teach them clearly about time, how events are organised, and how days are structured.
When they ask you when you’re going to the playground or when you’re going to read them a story, with Madame Irma, you can give them a clear, fun answer: “We’ll go when the big hand crosses the elephant.” While they’re waiting, a glance at their watch or their clock will reassure them: they can see for themselves that the big hand is moving… and understand that it’s nearly time to go to the playground. How very grown up.
With this peace of mind, they will be able to make the most of right now!
1. Hand after hand…
If something’s going to happen within the hour, use the big hand. It will be easy for your child to understand that they will have to wait for the pig before you go to the playground.
You’re not going for a few hours? Explain which colour the little hand will be on when it’s time!
If something is going to be happening in a few hours, focus your child’s attention on the little hand first. Tell them to come and find you when it reaches green. Then you can tell them which animal the big hand has to cross before it’s time to go to the playground!
2. build up the concept of time…
Your child will quickly understand that time can be broken down into two different dimensions.
Gradually, you can merge the steps: tell them the winning combination. They will soon understand that you will be going to the playground when the little hand is green and the big one crosses the pig.
Create a world around the watch, for example by suggesting that your child gives each animal a name. They will love this, and it will help them learn the new concepts even more quickly.
3. and telling the time becomes child’s play!
When it’s time for your child to learn how to tell the time on a traditional analogue watch, time will hold no secrets for them! They will already understand the way time is broken down, and all they need to do is familiarise themselves with the numbers.
Your child will compare their watch with yours themselves. Explain the similarities to prepare them for the next step. Moreover, they’ll be so proud to have a watch like the grown-ups!
A method that respects the child.
“The Madame Irma method is really well suited to the cognitive development of a child aged between 3 and 6. It provides a clear system for finding reference points in time, as well as encouraging independence”.
For a child, time is not the same as it is for us.
“I’ll read you your story in 15 minutes.” For us, the message is clear: between now and when we’re going to read the story, there is a period of 15 minutes. Time to turn the dishwasher on, send a work email or flick through a magazine. For a child, this period of time is meaningless. All that they understand is that you are going to read them a story. And they don’t know when. So it’s no surprise that they ask you – again and again! – “when are you going to tell me my story?”. When they don’t get a satisfactory answer from you, they start to get anxious.
For a child, time is not the same as it is for us: lots of studies show that for a child, time doesn’t exist outside events. They don’t see it as a continuous constant stream, whether something is happening or not, but rather as a series of actions: eating, having a bath, reading a story and going to bed. That’s how they see their days, according to the events that fill them.
Independence when it comes to learning about time.
The Madame Irma method respects the way a child’s mind works and is designed to give them more independence when it comes to managing time: it provides points of reference – animals and colours – adapted to their development stage and helps them communicate with you about time. When you tell them “I’ll read you your story when the big hand crosses the rabbit”, you are giving them a point of reference that they understand – a clear event – and they can see for themselves if it has happened or not.
Reassured, they can focus on right now, safe in the knowledge that story time will be here soon!