Updated: Aug 30, 2019
If you are a parent to a toddler or preschooler you probably feel like a broken record quite often. I know I do. There is something I've noticed lately. I can tell my kids things, but until I show them, sometimes they just don't get it. This is especially the case when it comes to abstract things. Things that you can't really "show" a kid, like time. Keep reading to learn some fun and surprising ways in which visuals can help your preschooler!
Getting ready/going to bed checklists. Things aren't official in our house until I write them down. There is something about putting it in writing that makes my kids take things more seriously. I don't know about you, but I get so tired of having to ask my kids to get dressed, get their shoes on, get a jacket on. Or at night time, take a bath, get their pajamas on, and brush their teeth. So I've illustrated charts outlining the steps. Now in the morning when I have to ask my daughter to get her shoes on for the 14th time I can just point to the chart and remind her that this is what we do. Other things you can write down include house rules and weekly menus.
Along the same line, if your kids are like mine and argue with you about putting on warm clothes (or cool clothes) you could get this Weather Girl Weather Station. Instead of reminding my kids to put on jackets I can ask them to go see what the weather girl says to wear in the morning!
Numbers. I wrote about this one in another one of my blog posts. Numbers are an abstract idea for toddlers. Creating a number line or hopscotch with numbers in it down your driveway or along your sidewalk is a fun way to visually show kids numbers while teaching them the meaning behind them. You can point out how old they are, how old you are and how old grandma is! Seeing all the numbers laid out in front of them helps them understand the that 72 is quite a bit more than 22!
Understanding time. Young kids are notorious for not understanding time. Ten minutes versus 60 minutes really doesn't mean much to them. Even yesterday, an hour ago, and last month are confusing concepts. Visually showing them time can really help. You can use your hands and show them how much time is left. For example bringing your hands really close together and saying, "We need to go in this much time," works much better than saying, "We need to leave in 5 minutes" (which really means nothing to them). You can give them warnings, "We will be leaving for school in this much time," with hands hips distance apart, then give follow up warnings with your hands coming closer together each time. This comes in handy in the car as well. My kids will ask how much farther we have to drive and I can show them with my hands.
Another way to show them time visually is through a visual timer. You can set this timer and they can actually see how much time they have left!
Potty Stuff! My kids are highly motivated by humor. I will never forget the morning my daughter woke up, went to the potty and saw the new bum bum sticker chart for the first time. I was still laying in bed when I heard her break out in laughter. I knew right then and there that it would be a hit.
When my daughter first started using the potty she got stickers every time she went. The sticker chart was a giant picture of a potty and she got to put a sticker on it each time she went. Recently we've been working on something else...both of my kids LOVE the new bum bum sticker chart and have been quickly filling it up with stickers!
Maybe this is why I have always loved teaching art. I get to spend a lot more time showing than I do telling. It takes a little more time to slow down and show our kids things, but it makes it a whole lot easier in the long run! Let me know if any of these ideas work for you!