LITTLE KIDS DON’T HAVE A GOOD HANDLE ON THE PASSAGE OF TIME.
Minutes and hours in a car trip are hard. How often have you heard, “are we there yet?” But months and seasons … that’s even harder. When kids are looking forward to something, they don’t have the experience to sort out long waits if weeks and months are involved.
Jennie, my five-year-old, came in and asked me when sister’s spring-break was and when G’Ma was coming to town. I told her spring-break would be in April, and G’Ma was coming in June.
I don’t think that meant a lot to her.
Is that a long time from now?
Will G’Ma be here before spring-break?
I tried to fill in some of the details, but I don’t think she understood very much of it. The rest of the day, I kept thinking back on our conversation.
WE’RE IMMERSED IN TIME
As we roll through the year, we’ve got all these fun things to look forward to.
Spring break is coming. G’Ma’s coming. There’s Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, Jennie’s birthday, Karen’s Spring Break, Christmas and Easter.
What comes First? Well first there’s Christmas, then Valentine’s, spring-break, Easter, then school’s out and then G’Ma comes … Got that? … No?
HOW CAN WE HELP OUR KIDS GET A LOCK ON THE PASSAGE OF TIME?
It’s not hopeless. Our kids are little learning machines. All we have to do is give them the right things to watch and observe, and they’ll figure out the rest.
Jennie’s 28 now. As she remembers it, her calendar wheel helped her a lot. She’d check it out from time to time to see how things were coming along. It helped her mentally count-down to when G’Ma came.
A CALENDAR WHEEL MAKES IT EASY FOR A KID TO INTERACT WITH A YEAR’S WORTH OF LIVING
Karen Gets a Weekly Calendar Wheel
Karen’s daddy, Josh, was just whistling to beat the band one Monday morning. He was getting ready to go to work when Karen looked in the door. She watched him for a moment and then asked, “Daddy, do you have to go to work today?”
“Yes, Karen, I sure do,” he replied as he put on his shoes and started to tie the laces.
“Why do you have to go, Daddy? I wish you could stay home and play with me,” said Karen.
“Thanks, Sweetheart, I’d like that too” he said kindly. “But I’ve got to go to work so my boss will pay me money on Friday. It’ll help us pay for the house, and the car, and groceries at the supermarket …” Then he smiled at her and winked his eye and said, “and once in a while, we have a little left over to buy a toy for you.”
“Is tomorrow a stay-home day, Daddy,” she asked? “I’d like to go buy me a toy tomorrow!”
“I’m sorry, Honey,” her daddy replied, “but tomorrow’s only Tuesday, and I have to work tomorrow, too.”
“When can you stay home, Daddy? I want us to go look at some toys.” Apparently the idea of checking out the toys at the store had really caught on with her.
“Well, Karen,” Josh said, “Saturday will be here soon. Maybe we can do something then.”
“Is Saturday a stay-home day, Daddy?”
“Well, I usually don’t have to go to work on Saturdays, if that’s what you mean, Karen.” As he spoke, he picked up his briefcase and got ready to go out the door.
“Daddy,” Karen asked crossly, “How do you know when it’s a go-to-work day and when it’s a stay-home day, anyway?” She didn’t understand what Tuesdays and Fridays and Saturdays were all about, and she was a little frustrated with it all.
“Golly, Karen,” he said, bending down so she didn’t have to look way up at him. “You and I need to sit down and talk about that when I have more time. — I’ve got an idea. When I come home from work tonight, I’ll bring some stuff home so we can make you a picture of a week. Then we’ll help you get it all figured out. How’s that?”
Karen gave her daddy a smile and a hug and out he went, whistling all the way to the car.
That night, Karen’s father came home with a great big paper bag under his arm and a bigger grin on his face. When she ran to the door to meet him, he handed her the bag and said, “Karen, look at what I picked up for you.”
She opened the bag and pulled out a large poster. “What’s this, Daddy,” she asked? “It looks like a big pie.”
“Karen,” replied Josh, “it’s going to be a weekly calendar wheel . We‘ll put some stickers on it and use it to help you understand the days of the week. Let’s take it to the kitchen table and fix it up.”
When they got comfortable at the table, Josh asked Karen, “Sweetheart, how many slices do you see on this calendar wheel?”
Karen studied the poster for a moment, then she touched each slice with her finger and counted them out loud. “One – two – three – four – five – six – seven. SEVEN ! “
“That’s right, Hon’. It has seven slices … one for every day of the week. Karen pointed at the words written around the edge of the wheel. “What do these say?”
“Karen, these are a short way of spelling the names of the days of the week,” Josh said. He touched each name with his finger. M-O-N means Monday. T-U-E means Tuesday. W-E-D is Wednesday. T-H-U means Thursday. F-R-I is Friday. S-A-T is Saturday, and S-U-N stands for Sunday.
When Josh was finished, Karen looked a little blank. It was a lot to remember. Her daddy noticed the puzzled look on her face and quickly added, “but don’t worry if you don’t get it all at once. When you get used to the calendar, it’ll all come to you.”
“OK, Daddy,” said Karen. “Can we put the stickers on now,” she asked, changing the subject ?
“That’s a good idea,” said her daddy. Then looking around, he added, “but I wonder where they are. Are they still in the bag on that chair by the door?”
Karen ran over to the bag to check it out and came up with a small plastic sack that was full of calendar stickers.
“Daddy, these are cool” Karen exclaimed as she ran back to the table. “Can I put them on?“
AND THAT WAS THE START OF KAREN’S WEEKLY CALENDAR WHEEL