Long Time, What comes next?

Little children think about time one thing at a time and one day at a time. We can help them begin to understand longer amounts of time by telling them what comes next. When Carter had his first birthday cake in October, Clara wanted to know when her birthday would be? “Tomorrow?” Clara’s fifth birthday is in March. We began to talk about what comes after Carter’s birthday and before Clara’s birthday. After Carter’s birthday is Edie’s birthday (December); after Edie’s birthday is Clara’s birthday (March). And it will be a LONG time between the birthdays. When Clara is seven she will understand.

Short Time

Even my five-year-old Clara doesn’t understand time very well. She does know that after dinner is time to brush her teeth, and after that she puts on her pajamas, and after that we read a story, and after that she goes to bed. She likes it when she gets ready for bed in the same sequence every day. It helps her learn about time. Clara is a little bossy, so she tells the babysitter what she is supposed to do next: dinner, toothbrush, pajamas, story, bed. Naming what comes next helps me teach Clara about time. When Clara tells the babysitter, what is next, we know she is beginning to understand about time. One day at a time is as much time as Clara can handle. Little children don’t understand

Fair Questions

“Are the blocks in the box?” Why would I ask a 2-year-old a question when I already know the answer? Because I want to find out if the child has the vocabulary for what she sees. It’s a way of testing a child’s vocabulary. But it is no fair asking a child a question if I know she doesn’t know the answer. It is important to teach her the difficult-to-understand words every chance I get. Words like in, out, under, around, after, before are good words to say literally thousands of times with a child. Fairness means telling her the answer before I ask her for the answer.

Listening by Watching

Talking to a toddler can feel super awkward. Long waits as my grandchildren try to respond to my questions are hard for me, but learning how each one of them thinks is a fascinating way to start my life with them. It helps to start listening before our babies know how to talk. Babies create their own sign language. With Carter, a late bloomer age 18 months, we are all becoming expert at reading his signs. He marched into my kitchen yesterday and pointed at me. Both his sister and I thought he wanted pretzels. We gave him pretzels. We were right. Last week Carter pushed a toy stroller around the dinner table. When I looked in the empty stroller and asked, “Where is your baby doll?” he marche

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