When a child asks: “When are we going to X?” many parents may typically respond with the name of a certain day of the week. However, for younger children, this may not mean that much yet: “Monday” or “next week” can mean very little while children are still understanding the concept of time and memorizing the days of the week. Here are five easy ways to practice these skills with your child.
1) Get Visual
Sight words are an integral part of learning to read. Using a calendar, spend some time pointing out the days of the week, starting with Sunday. Think of a little jingle to help kids remember the order the days appear in, before you even get to spelling them. For example, the melody of “Oh My Darling, Clementine” works quite well with the days of the week! Point to each word as you sing it, so the child starts to remember and recognize it more easily.
2) Make Days Meaningful
“Monday” means very little – BUT when it’s the first day of school for the year – well, that’s something to remember. At the beginning of each month, or week, mark certain days on your child’s calendar that mean something special. Are you planning a vacation? Celebrating a birthday? Visiting the Zoo or a museum? These are all exciting moments your child can “count-down” to, all while practicing where certain days of the week are in relation to others (i.e. something happened yesterday vs. something is happening tomorrow).
3) Establish Routines
Does your child have a special activity or routine that repeats week after week? Using some stamps or stickers, ask the child to make and decorate a weekly calendar to help create a schedule. For example: If baseball practice is every Friday, place a “B” or a sports sticker on every Friday that month. At the beginning of each week, take a few moments to plan ahead what you have happening on each day. This also works if you have a responsibility chart: At the beginning of the week, run through what the child needs to do (i.e. Monday is dishes day, Saturday is room-cleaning day).
4) Play High/Low
If you have a dedicated “Family Dinner” night, try a game of “High Low.” Each family member goes around the table, recalling their “high” and “low” points for the week. Give little clues if the child is having trouble remembering what happened on each day, such as: “Remember Monday? It was the day we went to Nana’s house.” These little triggers can help your child start to understand the “bigger picture” of the week as a whole while assigning certain memories to specific days.
5) Weekly Stories!
Using storytelling paper, ask your child to create a “story” about each day of the week. This is a great way to practice writing letters and words, too. If your child needs some assistance, write down the days of the week in a list on the left-hand side of each page. Then, ask your child to draw pictures that they associate with that day of the week. For a little imaginary fun, ask your child to draw what they would like to do on a certain day – the sky’s the limit! (Cue astronauts, dinosaurs, and unicorns!)
How do you practice the days of the week with your child? Share your ideas with us on Facebook.