Teaching my daughter to use a calendar.
Laurie is 3 and has been curious about the days of the week for a while.
It started with her set of Carter's undies that have the days of the week written on them (she would refuse to wear undies that don't match with the day she is wearing them!), combined with reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The beginning of the year was a good time to get her a little calendar and teach her how to use it:
1. The days of the month:
Every morning when she wakes up, I give her a little sticker to put on today's square, we read the number, and I tell her the entire date: "Today is Monday, January 30, 2017."
By the end of the first week, she had memorized that the month was January, and was saying the dates herself (very funny after number 14 :))
The last week of January, she knew that January will be over in 2 days because the numbers will stop on Tuesday and we will have to turn the page to another month.
2. The months of the year:
As in every calendar, the list of the months along with small "thumbnails" of each month's art is listed at the back of the calendar. I cut that page and put it above the calendar. When January was done and we turned the page, I gave her a bigger sticker to put on January. Now she knows February is the second month, and she knows what is left in 2017.
Monthly drawings, rather than quotes, may have been easier for her visually to match the big artwork to the little one on top, but this is working, and more about this below :)
I have to say the yearly spread is also helpful for me to have a sense of how fast time is passing, and how much of the year is left! Good and stressful at the same time :)
On weekends, I give her a more colorful sticker to put, so she would know that those days, the first and last columns of the grid, there is no daycare, and daddy's home. I got a calendar that starts with Sunday, to match The Very Hungry Caterpillar book.
When there is an event coming up, we put yet a different kind of sticker, not a square shape (blame this on the designer mom that I am ;)) so Laurie would anticipate that certain event, count the days to it, and know that it's getting closer.
In February for example, on the 12th, it's grandpa's birthday and we would call him and sing Happy Birthday. When that day comes, she will put her regular sticker on top of the "event sticker" and we would call grandpa. We would do this for playdates with friends (like on Saturday the 4th), going to the zoo, traveling somewhere, or if we are hosting friends or family, etc.
I think closer to the middle of the year, I will be able to write simple words for events and she will start reading them, instead of putting a sticker.
About the monthly art, I realized after I bought the calendar that drawings may have been visually easier for Laurie, but the little sentences have their own additional value as well. The January word was "Hello" so we spelled it (just like the Hello song that she knows), and this month, I explained to her what procrastinating is :)
A great thing about Laurie is that she understands concepts and she likes to ask and learn. Then at bedtime, when we are sitting together in the dark before we put her in bed (either me or daddy), she starts talking and explaining the new things and concepts she is learning, as if she is now teaching us (in this case, the days and months) the way she understands and grasps them, and it's the sweetest thing to hear her analyze and clarify it all in her mind.
When did you start teaching your child about the calendar?
About the calendar: I did not find any branding whatsoever on that calendar! No logo or company or website or anything! I got it from our local grocery store (Fred Meyer).
More about the stickers:
This sticker book (Ultimate Disney Tsum Tsum) features Disney characters, as Tsum Tsums. I didn't know what these were before I got the book, and I love them. So do Laurie and Leina ;) It's Disney characters drawn as little ball-style characters. Very cute!
I initially bought it to start some kind of sticker routine with Laurie for her daily "tasks." I was putting these pages up one at a time last year where the calendar is now, and giving Laurie a sticker to put in its place every time she did her daily routine things like brush her teeth, go potty, take a bath, put on PJs, eat dinner, etc. Each task or task combo done on time would get her a sticker. I stared this as a "why not try something fun" and it worked like a charm! She loves the stickers, and if she didn't want to do one of the things, I would tell her "remember, you can get a sticker if you do that now," and most of the times she would do it happily.
The book starts with pages of shapes where stickers should go. I let her choose the shape she wanted, and would give her the corresponding sticker, and we would read the little snippet about the character in question.
When the shape pages were finished, there were still a lot of extra sticker pages left. So I started putting small stickers on a white page, and would give her the matching bigger sticker to stick underneath. Still working!
And these square extra stickers are now finding new homes on the calendar. White background for days of the week, and colored background for weekend days :)
I confess that doing this (the specific sticker shapes and colors in specific places) is for me to balance the fact that I'm not straightening and perfecting the stickers that Laurie puts on her pages :) Gotta keep my sanity.
Talk about seizing the sticker book :) I got another one just like it that we will be using next!
Oh, and Leina also gets her share of stickers to put free-style on her own page whenever Laurie gets a sticker :) She is starting to earn her own stickers now too when she does her routine things.
Fun. I had to love these stickers in order to have them take over 3 pantry cabinets in the kitchen. As long as they are easily removable, pretty, and not primary colors, I am fine ;)