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Family Activities
Get to Know Your Child

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Get To Know Your Child’s Feelings

Monitoring your children also means knowing how they feel emotionally. Often, problems grow because children don’t know how to communicate. Start a family “feelings report.”

  1. Together with your child, cut out bright yellow suns, white clouds, dark clouds, and thunderbolts, one for each family member. Write names on the shapes and glue them on refrigerator magnets.
  2. During the day, members of the family set up their emotional weather reports. Do they feel bright and sunny? A little cloudy? Gloomy as a gray sky? Angry as a thunderbolt?

Give everyone time to share their emotions, but don’t force them to talk. It’s most important that you begin to monitor your children’s feelings.

  • Are they always gloomy? Do they feel angry often?
  • Are they willing to talk about their feelings?
  • What makes them feel good? When are they happiest?

Who Are Your Friends

Help set boundaries for choosing new friends now. As your children get older, they will learn that it’s important to find friends who care about others and act responsibly.

CHARACTER CARDSgreen wally bear face
Wally Bear and his friends are very important to each other. Use the Character Cards (PDF) to help your children discover why each friend is a good friend to have.

  1. Talk about what makes your child a good friend.
    • I like to...
    • I’m always...
    • If someone is sad, I...
    • I know how to...
  2. Talk about what’s important in a friend.
    • Someone who cares
    • Someone who shares
    • Someone you can count on
    • Someone you can play with
    • Someone you can talk to
  3. Help your children make a list of their friends. What makes each person a good friend? Think about and discuss their choices of friends.
  4. Now, check yourself: Do you know each of these children? Have you met their parents? If not:
    • Go to his or her daycare, school, or play group and introduce yourself to the child and, if possible, the parent
    • Invite the child to your home to play
    • Set up a time to meet the child and his/her parent at the park or playground

Here I Am. Where Are You?

On a large piece of paper, help your child list or draw all the places each of you goes during the day—work, school, grandma’s house, the babysitter’s, the recreation center, etc. Talk about when you’re together and when you’re not. Use this to help your 3- or 4-year-old get to know the day’s schedule. For example:

  • When I’m at work, where are you?
  • If you’re at grandma’s, where am I?
  • Where will I meet you today?
  • Who will pick you up from daycare today?

Place the “map” where, each morning, you can talk about the schedule and your expectations for the day. This will not only help you monitor your child, but also give your child a sense of routine and safety, knowing where you are.

If It’s __________ O’Clock, I Must Be __________

Clocks and telling time help 5- and 6-year-olds monitor their own schedules.

  1. Start with two large paper circles, one for midnight to noon, one for noon to midnight. Have children select colors to represent their activities: sleeping, getting ready for school, playing with friends, eating, going to Grandma’s, etc.
  2. Place the numbers on the round clock faces. Ask your child: What do you do between midnight and 6 o’clock in the morning? Draw lines to block off that amount of time on the clock face. Have your child color the time for “sleeping.” Continue to fill in the clock faces for other activities.
  3. Have several blank clock faces ready to help your child understand a change in the daily routine (for weekends, etc.).
  4. Post the clock faces to help your children know where they will be and what they will be doing each day.
  5. As children get older, they will know that any change in their schedule means they must contact and talk with you. Monitoring your child’s activities will become a natural expectation.

Please note—to view documents in PDF format, you must have Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader software. If you do not already have this software installed on your computer, please download it from Adobe's Web site.

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Updated on 4/5/2013