I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how important a schedule is with toddlers! But how do you introduce the abstract concept of the clock to someone who can’t tell time yet? Below I share how you can create a visual schedule that will help your toddler better understand the order of events in their day.
Create A Picture Clock
When I taught first grade, I remember having a daily schedule posted on the board. Although the kids were just learning to read and tell time, they could easily identify pictures. Next to the numbers on the clock, I had cartoony pictures of the various activities we would be doing throughout the day.
Kids feel comforted by routine and knowing the order of events in any given day. They thrive on structure. While it is important to be flexible, I have found that there is a sort of peace when the daily rhythm is known and understood. I was introduced to the concept of a daily rhythm through Kim John Payne’s book Simplicity Parenting. It encourages you to simplify your life and cultivate your family rhythm. I can not recommend this book enough!
The past few months my daughter has been constantly asking “what time it is?” and has become fascinated with the large clock in our living room. She also wants to know when we will be eating, going to gymnastics and when she will take a nap (according to her, naps take place at 45 o’clock 🙂
Since time is such an abstract concept, I knew I needed a way to make it concrete and visual. I figured why not make her some sort of clock with pictures similar to what I had in my classroom? But I wanted something that matched the flow of our home so I knew I wanted it to be wood.
After searching everywhere and coming up short, I found this daily rhythm tracker and it had 12 pegs spaced exactly like a clock! Plus it came with discs that had various daily activities on them. Now I just had to make my vision come to life. I knew if we bought a clock mechanism that Casey could route out the center of the board to fit the gears inside.
- First find the center hole by tying a string across each adjacent peg until they all intersect.
- Then drill the center hole using a 5/16 drill bit.
- Place the threaded peg from the clock mechanism into the hole.
- Trace around the mechanism.
- Route out 1/4 inch from inside the traced area.
- Place clock mechanism inside and attach nut to secure to wood.
- Finally, put clock hands on front.
*Builders tip- if you don’t have access to a router, you can use a clock mechanism that has a longer shaft.
You can also find the clock mechanism we used, along with other hand options below
The round board will only take a second hand that is a maximum of 3″ long from hole to tip.
I am pretty happy with the result and E is already starting to comprehend that when the little hand is pointing to the picture we are engaging in that activity. She is also understanding that our day moves clockwise and that one activity must happen before the next.
In a later post I will share more about the specifics of our daily rhythm and how we utilize this clock each day.
How do you help your kids to understand your daily rhythm? Do you apply something similar in your own home?
From my home sweet home to yours,
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