Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Concepts of Time: Journaling and Daily Calendar Learning

Daily Calendar

We've added two additions to our daily routine that Ty has been pretty excited about!

Introducing the concepts of a calendar has been on my mind for a couple months. I naturally include the days of the week into our conversations ["This is the way we brush our teeth so early Tuesday morning!"], talk about what we have done in the past ["That's a picture from when we went to the park yesterday. Do you remember that big curly slide?] and what we will do specifically in the future {"Tomorrow Grandma is coming to visit and stay at our house."]. I feel like having his own calendar as a visual tool will be beneficial and that he's ready to be introduced to the concepts of "time" in a more sophisticated way.

Tyler's calendar is from the dollar store and displays photos of cute, familiar animals that he adores. You can also make your own so that your child can personalize it, or there are many calendar printables online.

To introduce the calendar, I told Tyler that we were starting a whole new year, 2012, and that this was his calendar that would let him keep track of each day in the year. We flipped through and I first named the months for him. I then pointed out the days of the week and listed them all several times, pointing as I went. We then counted all of the days in January, slowly, touching each number. We talked about the concept of a "day" from wake-up time in the morning to falling asleep at night and waking up to a brand new day.

As they come up, I'm labeling special events on the calendar for Tyler so that he can anticipate what is happening in his world, as well as to cement the idea of things happening on each "day". You can use store bought labels for this (it may be prettier than ours), but so far I'm simply cutting bits of construction paper, writing the event and taping it on. We have several events that happen each week, so I will keep those events the same color. Tyler will likely be able to tell what's coming up just by seeing the label's color and it will help with his sight reading ambitions as well.

Each morning after breakfast, we head to the calendar and cross off the day before, naming it "yesterday". He loves to help me do this! Soon I imagine he'll be able to cross each day off on his own without drawing all over the calendar. This morning he pointed to yesterday on his own and said "Bye-bye!". Something is sinking in! We then look at "today" to see if there are any events to look forward to and looked at "tomorrow" to see what may be happening soon. He gets quite excited looking at the special events coming up. He has been excited by the idea of going to story time at the library on Thursday all week!


From fourth grade until I was about twenty one, I kept a journal. After that my journaling became sporadic and I've pretty much given up on the idea, other than writing notes here and there about Tyler and being his mommy. It's something I wish I was better about doing, but I really treasure looking back on all of the important and random moments, feelings and experiences that I do have documented. I would love for Tyler to have journals to look back on someday. I also feel that it's important to reflect on what's happened in our lives through writing, and I'd love to get him in the habit now.

At the moment, Ty's journal is simply an old, but perfectly nice spiral notebook with the few pages in it that were used torn out. My husband had a habit of buying big notebooks for note-taking back in college...then only took notes for a week or so! I've saved them all for years, figuring we could use them someday, hating to waste the paper. The time has finally come!

Keeping tabs on what we've done throughout the day isn't a new concept to Tyler, though it's mainly been though verbal and visual recording. I've talked about what he did that day before bed since he was an infant, and we go through recent photos and videos together onto jog his memory on occasion as well, either on the same day or sometime later.

To introduce the journal to Tyler, I told him that the notebook was his special place for us to write and draw pictures about what he did each day. I make a big deal about checking the calendar, then write the date and day of the week, reading it aloud. I then ask Tyler what he's done that day. Whatever he tells me I write in quotes to make it clear that I'm recording what he said, though right now most of it is from my own words, which I also read aloud as I write. Ty sometimes has troubles verbally expressing what he's thinking, though I think this will be a great way to help him improve those skills. He's already getting better as understanding what the question "What did you do today" means and how to answer. I also give him prompts like "What did you eat today?" and "What did you do with Dee-Dee when she came over?" to help him think.

I then tell Tyler that he can draw a picture about his day (though this has tended to occur near the end of my writing, as he gets bored). This doesn't look tend to look like much yet (to me may to him), though it will be neat to see how his drawing progresses from the start of the journal to the end! As we continue, he will also start to get a stronger understanding that pictures can represent ideas.

After he grows accustomed to journaling every day, we will start to go back and read the entry from the day before or random days that he chooses. This will continue to give him a sense of past and present.

Teaching Tyler about time using a clock will be the next step in this area, though I'm going to let him grasp the bigger concepts first!


  1. I've always used natural conversation to teach the concept of time too and it's worked great so far!


  2. I love the way you are teaching him about time. We talk about it in our everyday conversations too, but I've wanted something more a little concrete and visual that would help him understand. I think this method would work well for him too.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Stopped by from The Sunday Showcase.

  3. I've been thinking about introducing some kind of calendar too but it didn't occur to me to just use a regular one. Great idea. thanks for sharing

  4. I love the journal idea. I'm going to try the drawing picture part with my 4 year old.

    Veronica @

  5. Glad this was helpful!

    The Monko: I too was thinking of creating some big, elaborate calendar...then realized I was making things much harder than they needed to be! He adores this calendar...and looks forward to journal writing every night now! It's so fun!

  6. Great ideas, Jen! I love that you found a calendar system that works well for you ... and I love that you're helping Tyler start journaling already! Those journals (and your blog) are something to treasure! Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: