How to teach your child the days of the week
Do you want to teach your child the days of the week? Teaching the days of the weeks to older toddlers and preschool age kids can be a challenge. But, it can be done with repetition and the right tools. See the days of the week printables I used, our set up, and our routine that has helped my 3 year old learn the days.
I came up with this system because my daughter, now 3 would always say “tomorrow on Saturday”, every day was Saturday. We had to be careful with our phrasing because she had no real concept of something happening in a few days time, everything was tomorrow, and she expected that thing to then happen tomorrow, and would be upset when told it wasn’t the day yet.
So, I decided I needed to come up with a visual to help her understand this. A way for her to visualize our routine in a way that was easy for her to comprehend.
I wanted it to be fun so I chose to make our days of the week crayons, something she could easily recognize. I also wanted to include activity squares for regular events in her schedule.
Colors Are Key
I originally made our days of the week different colors just to be visually appealing and fun. However, I’ve learned that colors are the key!
My daughter already knew her colors and could identify the 7 colors in our days of the week. However, the words “Monday”, “Tuesday”, etc had no meaning to her.
Instead of simply discussing that on Tuesday she goes to school and pointing at the day we’d say on orange day, Tuesday, she goes to school. She quickly started making the connection between the colors and activities.
It took me a little while to finally get the activity squares added to our wall. But, they really helped my daughter in understanding what to expect when. Before, I had to simply verbally associate an orange day with school for instance. With the added visual aid of the activity squares, she could see that she can expect to go to school when it’s an orange day.
They’re great because it empowers her to know this information without waiting for me to supply her with the answer. The pictures are a great way to tie two events together and for her to see what’s coming up later in the week.
We also have squares for family members we see regularly so if she’s going with a certain grandparent on Saturday we can throw their picture up on the wall too!
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
With most things, repetition is also key. Every morning we go to the wall and talk about what day it is and what we’re doing today. She’ll even ask what day it is and what we’re going to do today.
I make sure to always say the day of the week along with the color of the day so she can begin learning those words. It’s slow going but we’re making progress.
When time permits I also say that yesterday was…fill in with the previous day…and tomorrow is…fill in what tomorrow is. This way she’s starting to connect how the days relate to one another and understand the order of things.
Can my Preschooler really learn the days of the week?
Time is still an abstract concept for most 3 & 4 year olds. They will likely not truly understand how a calendar works until kindergarten or later. (You can read more about how this is developed on scholastic.com).
However, at this age, they can understand before or after and they can associate things. So they can learn that Tuesday comes before Wednesday. They can associate an orange day with school or a blue day with going to their soccer practice.
As with everything take it slow and keep it fun. They will get things wrong frequently, just continue to supply them with the right information. I started this not because I expected my daughter to quickly learn about the abstract notion of time, but simply as a way for us to better communicate with one another. And as a way for her to better understand the world around her and what she could expect from it on a daily basis.
If you think of it as one more tool for your child to understand their world and for you to understand each other and not as something they have to know and use correctly right away then you should do just fine.
Purchase your own set!
Do you want to get your own copy of our color-coded crayon days of the week?
You can now purchase the crayon days of the week set right here on my site!This is a digital download that you will need to print out and set up yourself (directions on that below). There are NO REFUNDS ON DIGITAL PRODUCTS.
Want half the work done for you? You can purchase a set all laminated and ready to be set up in my Etsy store. (Does not include mounting hardware).
Digital versions are also available in my Etsy store if you feel more comfortable purchasing there.
How to set up your own days of the week wall
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Step 1: Print out the days of the week. (I like to laminate mine so they’re well protected. Otherwise, I recommend printing them on cardstock.)
If you’re going to put them low enough for your child to touch and interact with them you’ll definitely want them laminated so they’ll last.
Step 2: Print out activity squares. For me, the squares needed to be about 2″x2″ to match up with my days of the week. I recommend laminating these as well.
If you laminate a few blank squares you can write or draw on them with a dry erase pen.
Step 3: Now it’s time to build your wall.
I use mounting squares to attach the days to the wall.
For the activity squares, you’ll need to use velcro fasteners. You’ll want a rough side next to each day of the week so that you can move the “Today Is:” square down to the correct day.
On the other side, you’ll want to put 1-2 rough sides. That will allow you to have one or two activity squares next to each day.
Attach a soft side to each of the activity squares so you can put them up as needed.
Go ahead and put up the squares for recurring activities and store squares for occasional activities somewhere nearby.