Picture Calendar

20 02 2008

A preschooler’s concept of time often leaves something to be desired. The joke about the child who asks if we’re there yet every 5 minutes can, in fact, be a toned down truth. I’ve literally had Seth ask the second after I’ve said “not yet” for the 10th time in under a minute. Dealing with this same concept for the question “are we going to grandma’s TODAY?” lead me to develop a picture calendar. As my 3 yr old can’t read yet, this seemed the logical choice. We started with a simple 3 day hand drawn calendar on construction paper. As he became more comfortable with the concept we moved on to a 5 day version:

picture calendar

Sorry about the crappy photo, but when I took this I didn’t know I was going to be blogging about it. At any rate, the calendar really helped on a number of levels. It helped prepare Seth for individual events such as going to see Grandma or going to the doctor and it also helped with more routine things like determining if we’re staying home today or going to school. Many evenings we quickly review the day and note what’s to happen the next day. Most mornings we review yesterday and acknowledge what’s to happen that day.

Pretty soon, it became a little tedious to fully draw out a calendar every few days, not to mention wasteful with the construction paper. So, I’m happy to say, we’ve now moved on to a white board version:

picture calendar picture calendar

It doesn’t always prevent the tantrum over unexpected or undesired events, but it has definitely reduced them. If you have a pre-reader in your family give this notion a shot. Don’t be shy about your drawing skills, I can guarantee you draw better than the child you’re drawing for. Stick figures and smiley faces are perfectly acceptable. If your child is starting to recognize letters, feel free to stick in a few for symbols as well. In the above example the M & P stand for who’s dropping off and picking up from day care. Here’s a few symbols to get you started:

house = staying home

birthday cake = someone’s birthday

car = road trip

book = library or story time

stethoscope = doctors visit

happy faces or stick figures = people (identify specific people by using distinguishing characteristics, such as long hair or placing the 1st initial of their name above or below)

toys = playing

lots of faces = play group

plate of food = going out to eat




7 responses

20 02 2008
painted fish studio

i just love this! such an amazing idea, and so creative! if i ever have children, i will definitely borrow this. or maybe i’ll just do it for myself. internal monologue: “is it friday yet?” “no?” “when will it be friday?”. and i can draw a big bottle of wine on friday, and i’ll cross off the days until it gets here.

21 02 2008

Simple yet so elegant. You are full of fantastic ideas. You could also highlight your getting up and going to bed cards that you use. I think those are brilliant as well!

21 02 2008

Ohhh! An adult version. I’m picturing paint brushes and cheese in addition to the wine bottle. Way more fun than outlook.

21 02 2008

Kathryn – Thanks! I just might do that.

21 02 2008
painted fish studio

ooooo… our lunches could be a little sandwich or bowl of soup! that is sooooo much better than an outlook notification!

1 03 2008

To go with your later routine planner, using photos. How about taking photos of places/people/things you find yourself repeating a lot, to reduce the drawing overhead?

(Just popped over from another blog on a long links trail, have bookmarked, will return!)

1 03 2008

That’s an excellent idea! We repeat daycare, home and family members a lot. This white board is metal backed so we could put pics on magnets. Which leads me to another idea I’ve had of using a magnet to signify which day of the week we’re on.

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