Activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day of love. Kids hug parents, partners give cards to express their feelings and children give gifts to classmates at preschool or school.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we ask you “What do you do to share your love? How do you show love to your child? How does your child express love?  Here are some ideas on how to share love on Valentine’s Day.

  • Make a hanging heart. Start by drawing a big heart on tag board or construction paper. Use ribbons, glue, markers and lace to decorate the heart with your children. Hang this above your kitchen table for others to enjoy.

  • Sort heart candies. Start with a muffin tin and a box of candy hearts. Label each tin with a different color. Have your child sort the hearts into the corresponding tin.
  • Play pin the heart on the person. This game is a mimic of pin the tail on the donkey. Start by drawing a person on a piece of tag board with a heart outlined in the center. Tape this to the wall. Then, cut out a heart for each person with tape on the back. Use a blindfold and cover each person’s eyes.  Spin them three times and have them “pin the heart on the person.”  The closest to the heart outline wins.
  • Fill Valentine bags. Take a paper lunch bag- white or brown – and decorate these with hearts, sayings for about love, handprints or drawings. Fill these with candy, fruit, pencils, trinkets or small toys for family members or friends. Give them to the people you love or have a scavenger hunt to find them.
  • Trace and cut hearts. Use empty heart candy boxes to trace hearts. If you don’t have any empty heart boxes, trace hearts on cardboard. Allow your children to trace these and cut them out.
  • Host an indoor heart search. Cut 20 hearts out of construction paper. Put these around your house while your children close their eyes or sit in another room. Let them dash around the house to see who can find the most hearts.
  • Create Valentine’s headbands. Start by cutting out 2-inch wide strips of paper. Measure these to your child’s head to make sure the strips are long enough. Glue on paper hearts, use heart stamps or foam heart stickers to decorate your headbands.  Staple these together when you are done decorating. Wear these for your Valentine’s Day supper.
  • Make Valentine’s Day magnets. Start with wooden hearts (you can usually find these at a craft store) and paint them in your favorite colors. Put a magnet on the back and place it on your refrigerator.
  • Host a Valentine’s Day dance party. Invite your friends over to dance with you to the music.
  • Create a Valentine’s Day coupon book. Include coupons that can be used throughout the year. Consider writing things like “a free hug,” “I will make my bed today” or “I will read a story to my sister/ brother.”

Enjoy spending time with your loved ones you love this Valentine’s Day by making special projects for them. Take time to share why you love all of the people in your life this season.

© Let’s Talk Kids, 2014

Join together for a play date

Some parents find hosting a play date to be complex since you need to coordinate many details. Other adults love when children get together and play. They say that having kids over helps keep the little ones engaged and entertained.

When hosting a play date, find activities all kids will enjoy!

When hosting a play date, find activities all kids will enjoy!

There is an important social aspect to hosting and attending play dates  – children learn how to share, behave at someone else’s home and also follow rules. A play date can also provide a new adventure!

To ease the process of planning a play date, we have shared these ideas to help things run smoothly.

  • Plan in advance. If you are seeking to bring many children together, you might need to plan a date in advance. Since all families have different schedules, it might take awhile to find a date that works for everyone.
  • Age appropriateness. When you are determining who to invite, consider how old a child is or what development level they are at. Some children play really well with babies while others might find babies to be dull. A good rule of thumb is to invite children who attend preschool or school with your child. It will be fun to visit with friends outside of the classroom.  You can also find older children that like younger children and vice versa. If in doubt, ask your child what she prefers.
  • Make play fun. Seek to do a group activity like a treasure hunt or play bingo. Consider playing games or doing activities that you cannot complete with just your family members.
  • Coveted toys. You might want to put away your child’s favorite toy or game so it doesn’t break or pieces don’t go missing during the play date. Children might also become very possessive over their coveted toy.  To remove this potential barrier, put favorite toy away until after friends have left. (It might also help children cope when their friends leave.  You can say, “now you can play with your favorite doll”).
  • Open communication. Before the play date, make sure to speak with each child’s parents and ask about any pet or food allergies the child might have. You want to make sure you have a safe environment. You should also invite the family to send a few of their child’s toys along.  This way, everyone will have something new to play with.
  • Drop off and pick up.  Consider arranging a specific drop off and pick up time. Are you going to meet at school or preschool?  Will one parent drop off the child and another pick up the child? Will the child stay for supper? Make sure expectations are well communicated.
  • Plan ahead. Part of what makes a play date extra fun is doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Consider planning a craft project or making a fun snack. (This week’s activity and recipe can both be completed by many children at once, you can also find more activities at: www.letstalkkids.net/activities.  If you plan an activity, make sure to have all of the needed supplies on hand.  We also recommend having some go-to items set aside if kids get bored or don’t know what to do. Playing with bubbles, reading books, playing a game, painting a picture or drawing together are always fun options.
  • Clean up. Parents of all children should tell their child that it is expected that everyone helps with clean up. Before anyone can leave, toys should be put away, books should be on shelves and the house should look just as good as before the play date happened. Taking responsibility together helps lessen the burden of picking up when children leave. You can also make a game out of cleaning up and try to put everything away before you count to 30 or sing a song about cleaning up.

These are just a few ideas to help make your play date more successful and fun for everyone. We hope you and your child have many fun play dates.

© Let’s Talk Kids, 2014

But why?

All parents know that children are inquisitive. They ask many questions about the world around them, for instance: Why do we have to go to the store? Why do we eat dinner? Why does daddy have to go to work?

Hearing these questions may seem like a nuisance at times but children need to ask questions to learn how the world works. They also want to spend time exploring the world together with the loving adults in their lives.

Giving your child an opportunity to ask questions helps develop brainpower in a child. Being inquisitive at a young age also helps children become better students in school. They will be taught it is okay to ask questions and seek answers.  Curious children will already know the answer to some questions but will also be skilled in thinking through an answer.

Here are some tips on how to handle the all-important question of why.

  • When your child asks the question “Why?” direct it back to them. Turn the question around when they ask and state, “Why do you think it is cold in winter?” or “Why do you think the sky is blue or the grass is green?” Allow children the opportunity to brainstorm answers with you.
  • Children are seeking to understand the world whey they ask why. When your child asks why the sun is out in the day and the moon is out at night, feel free to tell them the true answers.  Start with the discussion of the planets and how the earth revolves around the sun. Explain that as the earth rotates, we see stars and the moon during the evening and the sun in the morning. Also explain how the sun rises and sets.
  • As an adult, try to answer the simple why questions – for instance why do we have to eat breakfast or why do we hold hands in the parking lot? On the flip side, guide your child to answer the more difficult questions like why do dolphins communicate?  If you cannot figure out the answer, feel free to research it together.  Use it as an opportunity to research the topic at the library or on the internet. You will be role-modeling good studying behavior.
  • Schedule discussion time into your daily routine. Set aside time to sit down together and answer the question of the day or to work on a project or problem.  For instance, maybe you want to freeze water and see how a liquid turns into a solid. You can also work together to drop a leaf and a ball of socks off the stairs. See which drops faster and how they fall differently. By conducting these experiments you can solve problems and answer the questions before they are asked.
  • Take why questions as an opportunity to learn about your child’s world. View the world from your child’s perspective. Think about why they are asking the questions and what the answer may provide. Slow down and take time to listen to your child.
  • A child may also ask you a why question when something is bothering her. She might ask why she has to go to school or sleep alone. Instead of jumping in with an answer to provide a solution, discuss the issue with your child.  Say you think she seems worried. Have her explain what is bothering her and take time to listen. Work together to create a list of potential solutions and then determine which option is the best.  This process will both open the line of communication, and also helps relieve your child’s stress.

Remember the why questions are not asked to confuse you or frustrate you. Children ask why to learn about the world and situations around them.  Keep your answers simple and to the point. Children don’t need to know every specific detail but they do need a loving adult to support them as they learn about the world. Recall that answering the questions provides an opportunity to learn together and help develop your child.

© Let’s Talk Kids, 2014

Some children are eager to help out around the home and become your little assistant while others seem that they have no interest.  It is important for caregivers to assign easy tasks to children.  Doing chores builds personal responsibility, encourages teamwork and also gives children a sense of accomplishment for a job well done.

Caregivers often ask: When should chores be started in the home? How much can I assign my toddler to do?

Give children small chores to teach responsibility and teamwork.

Give children small chores to teach responsibility and teamwork.

Here are some guidelines and age-appropriate tasks:

Toddlers:  Little ones can start helping out around the house between 2-3 years of age. Two year olds will understand simple concepts about helping around the house but parents should be there to guide them in their chores.  Start with very simple tasks and even help your child until she understands what you are asking.  This might take 2-3 times of practice before the little one understands.  Show a lot of patience as you work together on the chore. Tasks at this age could be:

  • Dusting by putting old socks on her hands or feet.
  • Helping fold socks or small laundry items like washrags.
  • Putting away toys.
  • “Sweeping” the floor. Give your child a small dustpan or broom and let her “help” sweep.
  • Feeding a pet with supervision.
  • Allowing her to put away clean dishes.  You might want to start with the plastic dishes or items that are lower to the ground. As she masters this task, work on bigger dishes or things that need to be placed higher up.

At this age, chores are more about learning responsibility and that there is a place for things in your home. Do not expect your child to masterfully complete household tasks by herself.

Preschoolers:  Children at this age love to help no matter what the task is. They enjoy being a special helper and feel great responsibility and pride when a task is complete.  At this age, give your child options on what she wants to assist with.

You could also create a chore chart with stickers. Each time your child successfully helps, she can get a sticker for a job well done! Earning stickers can also help her to work towards bigger items- for instance, when she gets 10 stickers she can go to the movies, stay up late or get something special at the store. Having rewards helps show children that hard work takes time and pays off.

Chores for preschoolers include:

  • Putting their clothes in the laundry basket when they are done wearing them.
  • Walking the dog.
  • Asking her to match and fold socks.
  • Helping to bathe the cat or dog.
  • Making her bed.
  • Putting away her toys when she is done with them.
  • Hanging up her jackets and putting away her shoes when she comes in the house.
  • Assisting with loading the dishwasher or helping to dry the dishes.

School-aged children:  Children who are attending school are used to taking on responsibility and also being helpful. These children are also physically stronger and should be able to assist with more tasks around the home.

Some ideas for school-aged children to do as chores include:

  • Dusting a room or cleaning hardwood floors.
  • Vacuuming the stairs.
  • Carrying laundry to the laundry room and helping to sort the clothing into color piles.
  • Folding laundry and putting it away.
  • Cleaning the garage (with help and supervision).
  • Helping in the yard- school-aged children can help pick up twigs or weed the garden.  Older children can help rake leaves or shovel snow.
  • Preparing a grocery list (with assistance) and allowing her to help shop at the store.

When completing chores, children will gain self-confidence for a job well done. They also learn teamwork and personal responsibility. By asking children to do simple chores you are building personality traits to make them successful in life. Have fun working together this week to complete your family chores.

© Let’s Talk Kids, LLC 2013

 

A tribute to grandparents

Grandparents are special. They possess life wisdom and usually have more free time for their grandchildren.

Think back for a moment and recall what makes or made your grandparents special in your life. Did they provide unconditional love, attend your recitals or sporting events (no matter how bad or good you were) or teach you a new skill?

Grandparents provide love and life lessons.

Our grandma taught us how to bake while our grandpa always sang to us and told us jokes. We are lucky to have one living grandpa that shares his life experiences with us and tells us about growing up in rural Minnesota; he also taught Cinnamin tips to improve her golf game!

Here are some reasons that grandparents are unique and special. We encourage you to call and thank your grandparents for the love they provide!

  • Grandparents are instant friends. They are the ones that children flock to because they possess a special aura that children love. Grandparents usually have time to share. Most grandparents don’t judge children but instead give them freedom to explore and learn.
  • Grandparents know your family’s history. They know about past and present relatives, traditions of your family and about your culture. Grandparents can even tell funny stories about you (the parent) which you may not want your children to know. This helps children realize that you don’t always have all of the answers.
  • Grandparents have a knack for story telling. They can tell a story and make it come to life. They can share their favorite stories from when they were little or read a story that their children (you) loved to their grandkids.
  • Grandparents are great babysitters. Who is better to trust with your child than the people that raised you?
  • Grandparents love to spend extra time with their grandchildren. They also know the ins and outs of children since they raised you.
  • Grandparents are great teachers. When reading stories, they teach children the importance of reading and language. Some even teach grandchildren to read. Grandparents create an interest in writing when they ask their grandkids to write them letters. Creativity is taught when grandparents ask grandchildren to draw a picture, color or complete an art project. Grandparents teach about science and math when they bake with their grandchildren- by measuring and mixing. Music is taught when grandparents sing or share songs from when they were young.
  • Grandparents are healers and caregivers. They can nurture any “boo-boo” with hugs and kisses. They have a special touch or great tools like ice or band-aids which heal any sore. Grandparents have the warmest hearts and most generous smiles. There is something special about the way a grandparent smiles at a child to make her feel loved. Upon a visit, grandparents make each child feel like they have been waiting all day, or week, for a visit. When grandchildren arrive, life is grand!
  • Grandparents allow messes. Children view a day with grandma and grandpa as an escape. Some grandparents allow paint, glue or messy projects at their home. Grandparents understand that children need to create and make messes in order to learn. Some grandparents might allow kids to play with water, splash or make a mess in the yard. Usually there is more freedom at grandma and grandpa’s house.
  • Grandparents are givers. Some provide special treats or gifts that parents may or may not give their children. Don’t stress about this. Small treats are fine in moderation. Grandparents want to provide their grandchildren with the best so they spoil them just a little more. They like to say yes (within reason!).
  • Grandparents provide experiences. Most grandparents bring their grandchildren on an adventure. They might go to the park, the pool, a movie or a zoo. Grandparents have many fun ideas up their sleeves! Grandparents love unconditionally. They have the time and energy to play with their grandchildren until everyone is tuckered out. They will read many books. They will follow a child’s lead in play. They effortlessly move from activity to activity until the day is complete.
  • Grandparents are wise. They can answer nearly every baby and/or kid question that you or your child might ask. As the new parent, you can ask grandparents when to let your child cry it out, what to do when she is sick or how to encourage independence in your child. Likewise, grandparents can answer a child’s question on why the trees grow leaves or the dog barks.
  • Grandparents are helpers. When needed, grandparents will help with laundry, cleaning or cooking. They can also watch a new baby if you need a break. Just ask!

We believe that grandparents are special in every way. It’s important for grandparents to love their grandchildren and for the grandchildren to spend time with their grandparents. A relationship with grandparents is a special bond that cannot be broken. We raise our glasses to you this week, grandparents!

© Let’s Talk Kids, LLC 2013

Speech: A developmental milestone for each baby

Speaking is one of the most thrilling steps in child development. It is fun for a parent when their child can begin to ask for things and communicate. Children also feel independence when they can communicate their needs.

As you probably know, language and literacy skills begin at birth. Children hear and respond to the adults and caregivers in their lives. Adults communicate with babies through everyday loving interactions—sharing books, telling stories, singing songs, and talking.

Adults can encourage babies to speak by getting close and listening.

Adults can encourage babies to speak by getting close and listening

Around babies, adults spend a lot of time watching, hearing and applauding the little one for each sound that is made. Research is now showing that how an adult responds to a child’s attempts to communicate makes a huge difference in how a child develops language.

The best tactic is to make communication a dance. Take time to get down on the floor with your baby and lay together. Make your communication like a waltz, with one partner leading the other. First, allow your baby to lead while you follow. Next, tell your baby something and listen for her response. The more you practice this dance, the more your child will open up. Even if you cannot fully understand your child’s babbles, encourage her to keep making the noises.

Loving adults should also watch for a child’s nonverbal skills. An attention parent can interpret what a child wants without saying a word. For instance, when a young boy points to the apple juice, his dad can respond by saying, “Oh, you want some juice?” while pouring him some.

By repeating what a child wants, you are giving him the gift of communication. Repetition of his needs provides good role modeling for developing and using language.

Each day, actively seek to introduce new words to your child. It is important to note that your daughter can comprehend many more words than she can say. Throughout the day, practice being a “sportscaster” and tell your child everything that is happening around her. During playtime, tell her you will throw the ball and you want her to catch it. Tell her the ball is squishy and red. Think of all of the things happening around you that you can share with her.

Likewise, if you child is playing with a farm set, tell her that she is putting the farmer in the barn by the cow. Make up a story about what is happening. Say the cow is getting hungry and needs some food. When the farmer is done working, he can put the tractor in the barn. Perhaps the cat and dog will follow him home. Have fun in describing what your child is doing through play.

Telling your child about the world around her and explaining her play gives her the opportunity to connect words, objects and activities. This will also help prepare her to communicate and have an interest in learning language.

Kindergarten teachers greatly appreciate parents who spend this important quality time with their children developing language. The teachers can also tell a noticeable difference between children that were loved and talked with every day verses children who did not have this time with adults.

This week, spend time talking with your child. It could make a world of difference in developing her communication skills.

© Let’s Talk Kids, LLC 2013

Doulas may make the birthing process easier

While it is a perfectly natural process, having a baby is very demanding on the body, child and mother. Birth doulas can help take some of the pain and angst out of birth and provide the couple with much needed emotional support and resources.

Birth doulas aid to mothers, partners and minimize pain during the birthing process.

“Families who work with doulas typically require less (if any) pain medication and  medical intervention,” said Nichi Hirsch Kuechle, a birth doula of 16 years. “When a doula is present, moms less frequently request pain medication and often see labors that are shorter than those where doula support is not present.”

A surprising aspect for many couples is that the birth doula supports both the partner and mother.

“Many dads think a birth doula is for the mother only,” Kuechle said, “but now dads request the doula support to make them more available for their partner.  We help keep the communication open and the partner empowered as well.”

Birth doulas work with the couple beforehand to educate them on comfort measures and birthing positions. Before the birth, couples may take private birthing classes together (Nichi is also a Bradley Natural Childbirth Educator) to learn about the labor process. The education provides parents with how to manage pain, explains what is happening to mom on a physiological and emotional level so they better understand how to meet her needs during labor and delivery and how to utilize nutrition as a foundation for staying healthy and low-risk.

During the actual birth, doulas will change the woman’s position to mitigate pain, support the woman in breathing and relaxation, advocate for the mother and continuously reassure and comfort the couple.

Research shows doulas help. According to the World Health Organization, women who use doulas will have shorter labor, less anxiety about the birth, fewer complications and an easier time breastfeeding. The American Pregnancy Association reports that having a doula decreases the cesarean rate by 50%, reduces the labor process by 25% and lessens the request of epidurals by 60%.

Here are some things for parents to consider if using birth doulas:

  • Do your research. Conduct a simple Google search to find doulas in your area. You can also ask for recommendations from your doctor or friends who have had babies.
  • Ask questions. When you contact a doula, consider asking what training the doula has, how long they have been working in this field and what made them want to become a doula.
  • Get recommendations. Ask your potential doula for recommendations of couples that had births with him/her.
  • Make sure the doula is available on your due date. Check what contingency plans the doula has if she/he is not available on your requested date.
  • Trust your instincts. Have a conversation with the doula to see if she/he matches your family’s needs to be loved and supported. Make sure you all feel comfortable with one another.
  • Find out what services are provided. Ask the potential doula what services are needed or provided before, during and after the birth.
  • Sign a contract.  Most doulas will meet with couples to go through the process and ask for a contract to be signed. This assures you will get the services you requested.

Prices will vary for doulas but expect to pay around $1,000. Some doulas may charge more or less depending on their experience. There are also options for free doulas or students who are finishing their training.

As an example, Kuechle charges $1,197. Her fees include an in-home visit, support of active labor through the actual birth and a few hours after. She also provides a postpartum visit and coaching calls with the family. For more information on the services Kuechle provides, contact her at (612) 418-3801 or by email.

“Our job is to help families feel supported and empowered during their birth no matter what kind of experience they are creating for themselves” Kuechle said.

© Let’s Talk Kids, LLC 2013

Produce much more than fruit and vegetables out of the family garden

Growing a garden can be both fruitful and educational. In the garden, children can learn many things.

First, when you start with tilling the land, children gain large motor skills because the tiller is a big machine to move around. Talk to your child about why the land should be tilled. Explain that the hard ground is not conducive to growth. Younger children can also help by using a small shovel to turn over some dirt.

Next, allow your child to participate in digging the rows for the garden. This will teach your child measurement and space. Planting the seeds will give your child an opportunity to practice fine motor skills while dropping the seeds into the ground. After you plant the sees, apply water and explain to your child that seeds will grow with both water and sun.

You can find many lessons in the garden as the seeds begin to sprout. Children can learn that some seeds sprout faster while others take a longer time. Some sprouts will be big and grow very fast, like beans, while other beans might take a bit longer or stay short like radishes. A fun idea might be to use this lesson as a comparison to people.  Some are tall, some are short, some seeds sprout faster just like some people learn faster. Some grow slower or learn differently. Then explain that all types of seeds (people) are needed to make a beautiful garden (world).

The garden also contains plenty of math lessons. How deep do the seeds need to be planted? How far apart should the rows be from one another? How many seeds should be in one row?

Weeding provides another opportunity to learn. Help your child determine what seedlings are plants and which are weeds. Explain why you pull weeds out.

As the plants grow, tell your child how the flowers will grow to become fruit or vegetables. Explain that some plants like watermelons or pumpkins have larger flowers than other plants like cherry tomatoes. Compare root plants like potatoes, onions, beets and carrots with flowering plants. Why do some grow above the ground while others grow below?

During harvest time, children will learn how to appreciate the fruits of their labor, literally. When a plant is watered and nurtured it will produce vegetables or fruit. Teach your child how to gently pick peas off the vine without taking apart the plant. Show your child how to pick or dig up the root vegetables.

Finally, allow your child to participate in cleaning the fruit or vegetable and trying the different flavors. Which items from the garden are sweet?  Which are crispy?  Which taste good? Which are juicy?

From math skills to motor skills and teaching patience, a garden can provide many lessons for your little one.  An added bonus is your family will eat healthy as you enjoy the fruits of your labor. Consider the importance of a growing a garden for your family.

© Let’s Talk Kids, 2013

Like a diamond in the sky

A diamond has four sides and looks a bit like a square but it has different angles. It has two parallel sides. Draw a diamond for your child to see as you explain this fun shape.

Another good way to show your child how to make a diamond is to start with two triangles. Put these together to show your child how the triangles fit together to make a diamond.

Here are some other ideas to teach your child about diamonds:

  • Cut out diamonds of different shapes and sizes. Put these up around your house and go on a diamond hunt. Have your child practice tracing the diamond shapes with her finger.
  • Take a field trip to a baseball field. Can you tell what shape the mound is? What about the bases? What shape do the ball players run around? Practice running around the bases.
  • Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and hold up a diamond when you say “Like a Diamond in the Sky.”
  • Draw three different-sized diamonds on a blackboard or three pieces of paper. Have your child determine which is the smallest and which is the largest.
  • Color diamonds on a piece of paper.
  • Make a diamond name game. Cut out diamond shapes- one for each letter of your child’s name and extra letters for the alphabet. If you are spelling Justin, you will need 32 diamonds – 6 for the letters in J-u-s-t-i-n and 26 more for each letter of the alphabet. Next, write Justin’s name on a big piece of paper. Have him go on a diamond hunt to match the letters in his name. For younger kids, only write the letters in his name on diamonds to hide around the house. Help him arrange the letters to spell his name.
  • Put a bunch of foam shapes in a bowl or dish. Have your child sort out the diamond shapes.
  • Use white labels and cut out diamond shapes. Practice putting these on a sheet of colored paper.
  • Explain that diamonds can also be worn as jewelry. Show your child a photo of diamonds in a book or on the Internet. Ask her if the diamond jewelry looks like the diamond shape.
  • Cut up straws into different-sized pieces. Draw a diamond shapes on paper. Use the different-sized straws to match the edges of the diamond-shapes on your paper. Eat a snack of square crackers. Try to change the squares into diamonds.
  • Make diamond-shaped kites out of construction paper.
  • Fly a kite outside. What shape do you see? Can you get the kite to fly with or without wind?
  • Make a diamond person. Cut out two large diamonds for the head and body. Cut out smaller diamonds for the eyes, ears, and nose. Decorate the rest of the diamond person. Don’t forget to name your diamond friend. Try to think of “D” names since diamond starts with “D.”

Have fun with the diamonds in your life. The more kids are exposed to shapes, the more they will be ready for preschool and kindergarten.

© Let’s Talk Kids, 2013

How do you teach kids the days of the week?

Teaching children about the days of the week can be fun, but it is also a challenging task. Most kids have difficulty grasping the concept of time and days. Caregivers must be patient in this lesson and repetitive in their teaching.

Here are some fun ways to teach the days of the week:

  • Use this “Days of the Week” song, which is sung to the tune of the “Addams Family” theme song. While you are singing, use a calendar and show children how the words of the song and days on the calendar go in order.
  • Write out the days of the week on a white piece of paper. Gather seven markers and a calendar. Color the word “Monday” and the entire column of Mondays on the calendar the same color. Repeat this for each day. This activity helps highlight the day that your child is learning and also shows the spelling of each day.
  • Using lined paper, write out the names of each day of the week. Cut the names out and paste them in order on another piece of paper or tape them to the wall. Practice putting the days in order.
  • Make your own calendar. Start by printing out a blank calendar on your computer. Have your child color a photo to go with the month. Older children can create a 12-month calendar.
  • Sing this song “Seven Days of the Week (I Never Go to Work)” by They Might Be Giants.
  • Create your family story using the days of the week. Take seven sheets of paper and write a day (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.) on the top of each sheet. On Sunday’s page, draw or write the things that your family does on Sunday. You can also cut out photos to glue in your book. Continue this process for each day of the week. Have fun making and reading your book.
  • Count down to big events by using a calendar. For instance, if grandpa will come to visit on Saturday, show your child that you have three days until he arrives and count out the days. You can also write down things you will do each day or draw photos to help your children realize when the big day will come. Explain that on Thursday, we will go to story hour at the library and eat dinner. On Friday, we will watch a movie and eat popcorn. When we wake up on Saturday, grandpa will come!
  • Use a calendar to talk about today, tomorrow and yesterday. Children can see on the calendar that yesterday you went to swimming lessons, today you visit the dentist, and tomorrow you will play with a friend.
  • Create a week caterpillar. Start with eight 3-inch circles cut out of paper. The first circle will be the caterpillar’s head. Write the month and dates on this circle and also draw a face. Next, glue together the other seven circles to represent each day of the week. Write out the day of the week on each circle.
  • Discuss which holidays happen in a month. Use a calendar to show the current month. For instance, in March spring arrives. There is also St. Patrick’s Day. Show your child which days have a holiday or special event. Consider coloring these days a special color or drawing a picture to represent the holiday on your calendar.

Remember that repetition is key when teaching the days of the week. Fun activities will help children really understand the concept. It can be tricky and maybe even frustrating at first, but using these simple techniques will help your child understand the days of the week.

© Let’s Talk Kids, LLC 2013