Teaching Children the Days of the Week
When children start school, they often have difficulty knowing the days of the week. The concept of time is a complex one for young children, but the days of the week can be introduced from a very young age.
Why Teach Days of the Week?
Once children start school their days start becoming organized, not only at school but in their personal lives as well. It is important they know what day it is and what will happen on that day. Maybe they have library books that need to be returned, or it is school banking day. Right from the start parents should encourage children to be independent in their time management. Knowing what day it is can be the beginning step in the time management process.
When Should Days of the Week Be Taught?
The names of the days of the week can be introduced informally from a very young age. Children will hear the names and although they won’t understand, they’ll start absorbing the information.
Just as in learning to speak, children exposed to the day names often enough will start making connections. They’ll start remembering some family routines, such as Saturday being the day Daddy doesn’t go to work or Sunday is the day they go to Grandma’s for lunch. Like many things, this learning can be easily integrated into daily family conversations.
How Can Days of the Week Be Taught?
There are many ways days of the week can be taught. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Make a simple chart for children with one box for each day of the week. Seven days are enough to cope with in the early learning stages, they can learn about the full calendar later. Every day identify the day on the chart in some way. Talk about the name of the day as you do so. As well as naming the new day, refer back to the name of yesterday and forward to what the day will be tomorrow.
- There are many simple rhymes and poems that help teach the days of the week. Regular repetition of these rhymes eventually establishes the order of the days in children’s minds. Don’t worry if they get them muddled at first. The concept of time is an abstract one for young children and takes time to learn.
- Talk about family routines and create a simple family timetable. On Monday Susie goes to ballet, on Tuesday we watch a particular program on TV, on Wednesday we get the groceries – identify the things you do regularly as a family and put them into the timetable.
Don’t expect the learning of the days of the week to be a quick process. Recognizing and knowing the day names comes first. Ordering will happen next, but initially there will be inconsistencies. Children will get days in the wrong order, or leave some out altogether.
With regular practice and repetition the days of the week will eventually become second nature to children. Knowing the days is the first step in teaching children time management.
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