Printable Summer Schedule for Your Refrigerator (just add magnets)

Summer Schedule Printables print out and put on refrigerator to help organize your summer days  500x708 Printable Summer Schedule for Your Refrigerator (just add magnets)

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As a classroom teacher, I maintained order and routine by following a pretty regimented schedule.  This gave us predictability for the day and ensured that we accomplished everything we needed to accomplish.  For some reason, this same characteristic has not transferred over to my stay-at-home mom life.  Since I am not a morning person I am content to just “ease into the day” (as my husband likes to call it) if we don’t have anywhere we have to be.  Before I can get my act together, it is nearly lunch time!   All I know is that my sanity for the summer depends on some type of schedule!

 

I created this printable summer schedule so that it can be interchangeable for varying days.  My goal is to plan ahead the night before what our day will look like and make sure to arrange the schedule accordingly.  I have one child who thrives on routine and predictability, so I know this will be very beneficial for him without being too regimented.  :)

 

Download your summer schedule printables here.

 

Once you download the printables, you can print on magnetic paper or laminate and use magnet tape to add to your refrigerator.

 

Here are some of the activities included in the printable: 

  • Get Dressed
  • Breakfast
  • Table Time (will vary each day:  includes handwriting, workbook pages, puzzles, learning games, play dough, etc)
  • Free Play
  • Library
  • Park
  • Swimming
  • Screen Time
  • One-on-One time (my goal is to spend at least 30 minutes a week one-on-one with each child doing something of their choice)
  • Rest time
  • Lunch
  • Chores
  • Field Trip (zoo, museums, etc)
  • Reading (independent or audio books)
  • Read aloud (me reading to them)

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I  included blank plates for you to add your own activities as well.  I did not, however, include dinner or any activities that come afterward just because this time of day is already a well-established routine in our home.  The printable includes 30-minute time increments from 8am to 5pm but also comes with blank clock faces that you can customize (which I will be using later in the summer to reinforce telling time).

Despite how it may look, there will be a lot of flexibility in our day.  Activities are spread out enough to allow plenty of “down time” in between.  I also asked the boys some themes that interest them, so we will be doing some weekly activities related to their interests.

Finally, we’re implementing a new screen time policy at our house.  The boys can early 1 minute of screen time for every minute that they read (or listen to an audio book/book read aloud).  I bought them both book timers and we’re hoping to keep track this way.

 

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Do you have a summer schedule for your home??? 

Tips for Teaching Your Child How to Tie Shoes

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Teaching a child to tie his/her shoes has got to be one of the most frustrating tasks for a parent of preschool or school-aged children (or maybe it is just me).  I think I would much rather potty train a toddler than attempt to teach a five-year old how to tie his shoes.

Okay, perhaps that’s a little bit of a stretch…but it is tough work.

Although this task is very important if your child attends school outside of the home, it is also very important for their self-help/adaptive development.  We could just buy them Velcro shoes for the rest of their life (and believe me, I’ve considered it), but at some point your child will need to know how to tie a simple bow knot.

I’ve been working with Big Brother for a couple weeks now (here and there).  Although he hasn’t mastered the skill quite yet, he has made a lot of progress!  I am far from an expert (I have yet to successfully teach a child quite yet), but thought I would share a few tricks we’ve learned along the way (and also some helpful suggestions from my wonderful readers).

 

1.  Start ‘em young.  No, no, no…I don’t mean to break out the shoelaces with your 2-year old and begin practicing.  Shoe-tying requires precise fine motor control, which is difficult for many young children.  When your child is a toddler, begin working on activities that require your child to use the small muscles in his/her hands.  As she progresses through her development, continue presenting challenging fine motor tasks.  When the time comes that your child needs to learn to tie her shoes, she’ll have lots of opportunities to develop those small hand muscles!  Looking for more fine motor activities, check out our Fine Motor Pinterest board.

 

2.  Be patient.  Teaching a child to tie his/her shoes is tough.  They probably won’t “get it” the first, second, or even twentieth time that you show them.  Hang in there…your child won’t be graduating high school still wearing Velcro shoes.  It will happen at some point.

 

3.  Give lots of praise.  Celebrate the small steps.  Once your child can complete the first step (crossing and pulling the shoelaces), praise him/her for their hard work.  Turn on some fun music and make shoe-tying practice a fun and enjoyable time!

 

4.  Work on shoe-tying for 15-20 minutes at a time.  I made the mistake of working with Big Brother for an hour one day.  I gave lots of praise and he made a lot of progress, but he was done with shoe-tying by the end.  Splitting it up into smaller increments makes it much less frustrating for your child (and you).

 

5.  Start big.  Several people on my Facebook page shared that they first taught their child how to tie a bow using a jump rope underneath both of their legs.  Once they mastered the skill on a larger scale, they then let him/her try it using shoelaces.

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6.  Get the right laces.  Use flat, long laces to teach your child to tie his/her shoes.  The rounded laces are sometimes too difficult for little fingers to manipulate.

 

7.  Don’t lace the top holes on your shoe.  I’ve found that most shoelaces are just a tiny bit shorter than what is easiest for kids to learn to tie.  Remedy this problem by lacing only to the second holes from the top of the shoe.  This will give just a little bit of extra length for your child to work with.

 

8.  Mark and make a knot in the laces.  I learned this from the Magical Molly video  (although we simplified and adapted it quite a bit), I just marked the laces with a Sharpie where the first loop will be made and then then made a knot where he will pull it through the hole.

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Helpful Resources:

Magical Molly Shoe-tying video resource for parents

Magical Molly Shoe-Tying Video for Kids (I didn’t actually show this to Big Brother since he already had the first step down and I didn’t want to confuse him, but it is a good resource).

Easy Shoe Tying Video (this looks GREAT and super easy for little kids but we had already started working on tying shoes using the loop and swoop method, so I didn’t try this with Big Brother as not to confuse him).

Melissa & Doug Wood Lacing Sneaker:  We don’t personally have this, but many people have suggested it to introduce a child to the concept of lacing and tying shoes.  It is basically just a tool to practice without having to put a shoes on your child’s feet.

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Check out more tips from moms and dads like you on my Facebook page.

 

Learning about Spatial Awareness with Boxes

Spatial Awareness with Boxes Learning about Spatial Awareness with Boxes

Post by Contributing Writer Jennie

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE doing my Christmas shopping online!  When the packages arrive on my front porch I am not only excited for the contents inside, but I am just as excited for the boxes they came in!  Around our house, boxes equal hours of play time fun for all three kiddos!  They also provide an excellent activity to teach spatial awareness.

Here is what you’ll need: boxes of various sizes and a few toys

To get started, set the box on the floor with a few toys inside of it and invite your little one(s) to come and explore.

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Gently set your baby inside of the box or let your bigger kids climb inside.

 

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I started with a smaller box that Twin Girl and Twin Boy could see out of, and then I moved them to a bigger box that had taller “walls.”  This was a fun place for them to “hide” and play peek-a-boo.

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I took this box and opened up both ends to make a tunnel that they could crawl through.

 

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We also have a really big box that they could all walk or crawl inside of.

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Our all time favorite box is one that their Daddy made into a “fort!”  He cut a little door out of it and some windows too.  They absolutely LOVE crawling in and out!

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I laugh to myself when I see my kids try to squeeze through a tiny gap between our furniture and the wall because I know that there is no way they can do it; however, they do not know this yet.  They need those opportunities to understand how their body size and shape fits in a given area.  Using boxes to teach spatial awareness to young children allows them this key opportunity.

 

Jennie 150x150 Learning about Spatial Awareness with BoxesJennie is a stay-at-home mom to a 3 year old boy and 1 year old boy/girl twins.  She received a degree in early childhood education and has several years of experience teaching both Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten prior to having children.  She realizes that as busy moms we need simple ideas that will make a BIG difference to our young children!

Printable Morning Routine Cards

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It’s August, which means school is starting soon…and so are the crazy, chaotic mornings.  Help minimize the frustration by using these Morning Routine Cards!

The purpose of these cards is to encourage a bit of independence in the process of getting ready for the day.  And if you use a magnetic knife bar like we did, they are SUPER easy to rearrange and change (if needed).

Big Brother will be going to preschool 3 mornings each week at a local church-based preschool.  School starts at 8:30am.  I am the antithesis of a morning person, so establishing a morning routine is key for us this year.  I decided I would start a few weeks early because I figured it would take a while to get the hang of this new Morning Routine Card system.

 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The night after we hung these Routine Cards in his room, he woke me up by saying, “Mommy, I already did all of my cards!”  Sure enough…toothpaste on the chin, shirt on (backwards), and bed made!  I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least!!!

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And best of all, I want to share these Morning Routine Cards with each of you!  Download and print your choice of 4 colors by clicking on the links below!

BLUE Morning Routine Cards

PINK Morning Routine Cards

GREEN Morning Routine Cards

RED Morning Routine Cards

 

To make the cards:

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1.  Print your cards.  I decided to mount them (and round the corners) onto some red scrapbook paper to add a little bit of contrast.

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2.  Laminate the cards.  This step definitely isn’t required but it will help them hold up longer.  I have used this laminator for the last couple of years and I love it!  I buy the generic pouches at Sam’s (a box of 200 for $20) and have had great success!

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3.  Add your magnets on the back.  I pieced the remaining adhesive magnet roll I had left (that was sent to me for free from CraftProjectIdeas.com).  Ideally, you would magnetize the entire back…but I just used what I had on hand!

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To hold the cards, I purchased this 18-inch Magnetic Knife Holder from Amazon.  I wanted something that could easily be adjusted and something that we could add on to later down the road (once Big Brother can do his own hair, for example).  :)  This has worked perfectly for us and is sturdy enough to survive my rough boys!!

 

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And here it is on the wall, underneath my favorite picture of all time

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 Yep, his shirt is on backwards.  But he dressed himself without me even having to ask, so I’m not complaining!

 

In addition to these Morning Routine Cards, I also bought a hanging closet organizer.  They have some that already have the weekday names on them, but I opted for the cheaper route and then attached my own with some packing tape.  :)  I also wanted to make sure we had a Sunday slot as well since we want our boys to look nice for church on Sundays.

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On the days that Big Brother goes to Preschool and Church, he will have clothes ready and waiting for him in his closet.  On the days that we are at home, he gets to choose whatever he wants to wear.  After much thought, this was the best way I could come up with to ensure he isn’t dressed like a pauper when he goes to school and church but also still gets to show some independence by choosing his clothing on the “off” days.

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*After taking these pictures, I moved the weekday signs to the bottom of each shelf instead of the top.  It was much less confusing this way.

 

It’s been almost a week since we’ve implemented our new Morning Routine Cards and closet organizer system and it has been AMAZING!!!

 

My Potential Future Project…Making some Morning Routine Cards for MYSELF.  First on the routine chart would be “Get your rear end out of bed before the kids.”  Do you think they have clipart for that???  ;)

 

*The links in this post are my affiliate links.  Please read my full disclosure.

Swimming Lessons: Why Every Child Needs Them

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As summer draws near and we spend more time in swimming pools and lakes, it’s important as parents of young children to be extremely vigilant around the water.

Here are some alarming statistics about drowning from the CDC:

 

-Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14 years of age.

-80% of drowning deaths are males.

-In 2007, there were an average of 10 drowning deaths each day in the US alone.

-In 2007, among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, almost 30% died from drowning.

-For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

-Among children ages 1 to 4 years, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools. Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.

Here’s the good news:  Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4 years (source).  

Both of our boys (4 years and 2 years) recently started taking swimming lessons at a local swim club.  Prior to this, Big Brother had loosely participated in a toddler swimming class.  After brushing up on these alarming facts on drowning (especially since we have a pond in our backyard), I am upset with myself for not starting these lessons sooner!

The swimming lessons the boys are taking are hard-core.  In fact, they ask that parents don’t even watch for the first few sessions because it distracts the kids and often makes them emotional.  The instructors are tender with the emotions and feelings of the children but they also realize that the reason they are there is to learn how to swim…and learning to swim could save that child’s life someday.

If you don’t have your child enrolled in swimming lessons, I would HIGHLY recommend it!  If you are unable to afford swimming lessons, check with your local YMCA, fitness club, or parks & recreation department to see if they have any discounts available.  You could even ask grandparents and family members to give swimming lessons as a birthday/Christmas gift instead of toys!

 

*If this post resonated with you, would you consider sharing it with others?  I had no idea of some of these statistics until I started researching it…EVERY parent needs to know this information!