I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to write about giving your kiddos their first calendar because it’s incredibly helpful for our family. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure how to help you get your hands on one!
Thankfully, I discovered some awesome resources that are available for you to get started doing this with your kids. Whether you want to make one or buy a printable, I’ve got you covered. Trust me, your kids will love their first calendar and so will you!
Our Calendar Solution
When Kai started school we realized we would love a way to show him which days he would be home. After all, I’d be lost without my planner and I figured Kai should have the same help figuring out his schedule. We clearly needed a really simple first calendar for him.
He didn’t understand what the word tomorrow meant until we did this. He used it to mean yesterday. We even had our own little nicknames for the days: “daddy work day” and “daddy stay home day” meant weekdays and weekends.
So my husband, who has secret art skills, created some really simple, cute drawings and our own system for teaching our kiddos about the days of the week as well as what usually happens on those days. We also customize it for holidays, grandparent visits, doctor appointments, and basically anything out of the norm.
And hallelujah, it worked wonders for him! Our sweet boy not only understands our weekly schedule, he actually corrects me if I don’t have an activity on the right day.
Why a Weekly Calendar?
Nothing compares to being able to show your kids when something is happening. Just telling them that in three days we’ll go to x is not enough to explain to young kids about when something will happen.
I’ve seen other children’s calendar ideas, and I’m sure they’re great at teaching different concepts. But we really just wanted to help our preschoolers understand what we mean when we say things like, “church is every Sunday,” or “Nanna and Granddad will be coming in three days!”
Time is just a tough concept to grasp when you’re little. It’s altogether different for kids! Seeing a week is just the right amount of time to help your child understand things like “tomorrow” and “yesterday”. It doesn’t show events that are too far away, and it helps them understand what a week is.
Seasons, months, and weather are great things to learn about but they would only distract our kids from the goal. We want them to grasp the basics of a schedule and prepare them for what’s to come. Young kids just do so much better when they know what to expect.
DIY Your Child’s First Calendar
If you’re interested in DIY-ing your child’s first calendar, I recommend creating a little weekly calendar with a couple sheets of paper.
Step One: Set your paper down in landscape (horizontal) position. Draw seven tall columns across the paper. They should be 1.25″ wide.
Step Two: Write down the days of the week at the top of each column.
Step Three: Create your own graphics for different activities. If you don’t want to sketch them out, you could find some clip art, size them to 1.25″ wide, and put them in a program like Word, Pages, Google Docs, or a design program like Photoshop or Canva.
Step Four: Cut them out.
Step Five: Laminate everything! You could also use clear packing tape across your papers.
Step Six: Attach the calendar to your fridge. Tape your activities where needed, and place the magnet on today’s column.
DIY Weekly Calendar Resources
Buy a Weekly Calendar Printable
If reading the DIY instructions makes your head hurt, I’ve got your back. I found a sweet little Etsy shop with PERFECT printables for your child’s first calendar.
This sweet weekly calendar is the same concept that we created at home, but more colorful, way easier, and ready to go! It even includes 60 activity cards.
If you go the printable route, just print, laminate, cut out the activities, and attach to your fridge. You can still use a sweet magnet to indicate the day of the week.
Set Expectations with Your Child’s First Calendar
If you aren’t already using a weekly calendar, I hope you feel encouraged to try it! Your children will love it. Our kids have been using it since they were two and it hasn’t outlasted its use by a long shot! Kai is five now, and he refers to it like I do with my planner.
Because it’s so visible up on the fridge, even the adults in our house use this little calendar to remember what day it is! (Not that I would ever forget what day it is, of course.)
Both my kids start their day by running over to the calendar each morning to see what’s happening and move the little magnet so it’s on the right day. It’s really been amazing how something so small can make such a difference for them!
How do you set expectations with your kids and teach them about their schedule?