Time Concepts & Children's Daily Calendar 時間概念與小孩日曆

Updated: Jan 10

Our Dear Daughter has always loved to hear and talk about the concepts of time—since she was a baby. Actually, talking about time can calm upset babies or kids. Since she is asking about date, day, weather, temperature, and such every day, I have made her a daily calendar to consolidate her learning. Please note that it is important to know how to use children's calendar to make it work and not detrimental to children's learning. 我們的寶貝女兒從嬰兒時期就喜歡聽或討論時間。其實,討論時間可以讓不安的嬰兒或兒童冷靜下來。由於她每天都問日期、星期、天氣、溫度等等,我就為她製作了一個小孩日曆,鞏固她的學習。大家要注意,了解如何使用小孩日曆是非常重要的事,避免讓日曆活動阻礙兒童學習。

In this article, I am going to briefly show children's development of temporal understanding, discuss how daily calendar should be used, and share my design of daily calendar (monolingual and bilingual versions available—English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese). 我會在這篇文章中淺談兒童的時間概念的發展,再討論如何使用小孩日曆,最後分享我的日曆設計(單語、雙語版本:英語、繁體中文及簡體中文)。

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission—at no cost to you—if you make a purchase through the link. 注意:文中有行銷推廣連結。當你按下連結購買東西的時候(絕不影響你的價格),我會獲得一點兒佣金。

'' Talking about time can calm upset babies or kids. 討論時間可以讓不安的嬰兒或兒童冷靜下來。''

Children's Development of Temporal Understanding 兒童的時間概念發展

Children are not born with the knowledge of time; they need to learn different time concepts (e.g., past, minutes, yesterday) bit by bit. 小孩並非一出生就明白時間是什麼,他們需要慢慢學習不同的時間概念(如:過去、分鐘、昨天)。

Time concept learning does not occur all the same to all children. How families usually talk about time with children greatly influences how they learn about it. 每個小孩的時間概念學習都不一樣,家中通常如何與小孩討論時間會直接影響小孩的學習。

These are general stages of temporal understanding: 以下簡單為大家介紹認識時間概念的幾個階段:

  1. Before and after: When we talk with babies, we usually use before and after to prepare them for the next activity (when they are psychologically prepared, they feel calmer when transiting to a different activity.) For example, we may say: We will finish our lunch before going to the library. We might also say Let's do it later. The concept of later is also quite easy to grasp as it refers to the future without indicating a specific length of time. 前與後:我們和嬰孩說話的時候,常常會用到「前」和「後」去幫助他們過度進行下一項活動(他們有心理準備,轉換活動時會比較順暢、冷靜)。例如,我們會說:「我們午餐後去圖書館。」或者「我們下次再做。」(「下次」指的是將來,可沒有特定時間,比較容易理解。)

  2. Past and future: Children learn to talk about the past and future. They may use words like before (as in I have been here before) and next time (as in Let's do it again next time). They may even use terms like yesterday to refer to the past and tomorrow to refer to the future—although they may not be able to use them correctly yet. 過去與將來:小孩開始談及過去與將來。他們可能會說用「以前」或「下次」(例如:「我以前來過。」 「我們下次再玩。」)他們甚至會用「昨天」來形容過去、用「明天」去形容將來,雖然未必真的是「昨天」或「明天」發生的事。

  3. Sequence: Slowly, they learn that the days before yesterday (two days ago) precedes yesterday, which precedes today then tomorrow then the day after tomorrow. They may also learn the order of the days of the week: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. 次序:小孩慢慢就學會「前天」之後是「昨天」,之後是「今天」、「明天」和「後天」。他今也可能學會一星期的次序:星期日、星期一、星期二、星期三等。

  4. Time units: It takes some learning to finally gain the full understanding of different time units and their relations (e.g., year, season, week, day, hour, minute, second, etc.). Children might not be able to understand what time units actually are until six or seven years old. 時間單位:要真正明白時間單位(如:年、季節、星期、日、小時、分鐘、秒等),需要一些學習。小孩可能要到六、七歲才會明白時間單位是什麼。

I am talking about children's development of temporal understanding here, because sometimes children's daily calendars are not used properly. Constantly doing activities that are not developmentally appropriate to them can make children feel discouraged. 我在此花了些篇幅談及小孩時間概念的發展,因為有時候大家不太會使用小孩日曆,長期做不適合小孩的活動會令小孩覺得挫敗。

How Children's Daily Calendar Should Be Used 小孩日曆使用方法

In some traditional classrooms, teachers might start their circle time with a period called "calendar time". Teachers might ask questions like "What day is it today?" This kind of questions is called display questions—questions that show children's understanding. Display questions do NOT teach. Children who do not have the knowledge to answer the questions stay confused. This is also why some children become distracted or uncooperative during calendar time. 在一些傳統的教室裡,老師可能會用「日曆時間」來開始小組時間。老師可能會問一些「展示性問題」(display questions)(如:「今天是星期幾?」)「展示性問題」是用來讓學生展示自己已學會的知識的,對未學會知識的小孩幫助不大,他們只會繼續不會,所以日曆時間時,這些小孩有時候會分心或不合作。

Children's daily calendar or calendar time is a means of manifesting how different time concepts are related and a means to consolidate a child's learning of time concepts. We should NOT use the daily calendar to start teaching about time concepts. We should use it to demonstrate how different concepts are used in real life. 小孩日曆或日曆時間可以用來展示不同時間概念的關係,也是鞏固小孩時間概念學習的工具。我們不應該用小孩日曆去介紹新的時間概念,而是用日曆去示範怎樣在生活中使用不同的概念。

In our family, we discuss our schedule constantly. That was probably why my daughter asked about time concepts quite early. She was able to read the "hour" off digital clocks before the age of two, so she knew what she needed to do at particular times. She asked and started to learn the days of the week when she was two. Apart from listening to (and participating in) our conversations, Dear Daughter also learns different time concepts in picture books and songs. 我們家常常討論我們的行程,可能是因為這樣,女兒對時間概念非常感興趣。兩歲前,女兒會看電子鐘的「小時」, 她知道自己在什麼時候要做什麼事情。兩歲時,她詢問什麼是星期,然後開始學習星期。除了聆聽(和參與)我們的對話,女兒也從繪本與歌曲中學習到不同的時間概念。

Reviewing Days of the Week in Mandarin 複習普通話的星期日子

Learn About Time Sequence 認識時間的次序

A child who has no idea of what the past and the future means is definitely too young for any kind of calendar! Here are some activities that will help your child understand time sequence: 小孩如果還沒有明白什麼是過去、什麼是未來,那他們就是太小了,不適合使用日曆或月曆。下面有幾個活動可以幫助小孩明白時間次序:

  • Looking at and talking about photos together help understand the past. 一邊看照片一邊聊天,可以幫助孩子明白過去。

  • Planning what to do in the future, making a schedule together, or planning tomorrow's meals helps the understanding of the future. 計劃行程或設計第二天的餐單可以幫助小孩明白什麼是將來。

  • Observing how a plant or an animal grows and recording it helps them see how time passes. (Tip: Start with seeds for bigger contrasts and easier observation!) 觀察及記錄植物或動物的成長可以讓孩子看到時間怎樣過去。(小貼示:從種子開始種的話,效果比較明顯!)

Introduce Time Concepts One by One 逐一介紹時間概念

Does your child know days of the week, months, date, and year? Learning all these concepts at once with the daily calendar is too much and only causes confusion. Children learn better if you introduce the concepts one by one. It will be more interesting and clear. You may sing a song of the days of the week with your child. You may talk about year when it is close to New Year's Day. Consider using a real monthly calendar when talking about months and dates. A real calendar also shows what dates and days are, which are easily confused by young children. 你的孩子知道星期、月份、日期和年份是什麼嗎?用小孩日曆介紹這全部概念就太多啦,會令小孩困惑。慢慢逐一介紹時間概念有趣又清楚:你可以和小孩唱星期歌去認識一星期的日子;新年快到的時候可以介紹年份;想討論月份和日期的話,可以考慮使用真月曆(日期和星期是小孩容影混淆的概念)。

Before we started to use this daily calendar, we had been using a real calendar for rewarding some good behavior (for three months). A real calendar allowed my daughter to see how dates, days, and months work in real life, but this small talk about these concepts was too short she kept asking the same questions again and again. With our daily calendar, my daughter grasped the concepts very quickly within several days as the magnetic daily calendar encourages active learning (i.e., she has to think a little bit before arranging the magnetic pieces). 我們開始使用小孩日曆前,使用了真日曆三個月,去獎勵女兒的某個好行為。透過真日曆,女兒看到日期、星期和月份在現實生活是怎樣運作的,但是這個討論時間太短,女兒每次都重覆問著幾個問題。使用我們的小孩日曆後,女兒幾天就掌握了這些概念,因為這個磁鐵/磁石日曆提供主動學習的機會(就是女兒需要想一想才慢慢把適當的磁鐵放到日曆上)。

Demonstrate First 先示範

Being able to use a real calendar or the children's daily calendar requires a lot of skills and knowledge (e.g., counting, numeral recognition, time sequencing, chart reading). It is tempting for adults to want to use the daily calendar to teach with the calendars. Just remember: stay calm and demonstrate first. When your child is not ready, Do not ask display questions even—if you give them hints. Instead, slowly show your child how you use the daily calendar. Think aloud (e.g., Yesterday was Wednesday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Um. Today is Thursday.) When children think they grasp a concept, they will eagerly ask to work on that. What you need to do is to demonstrate first and wait. 能使用真正的月曆或小孩日曆需要很多技能和知識(如:數數、認數字、時間排序、閱讀表格),於是成人可能很想利用日曆去教不同的知識和技能,但請記得:冷靜一下,要先示範啊!當你的孩子未準備好,切勿問展示性問題(就算你多給提示)。記得要慢慢示範如何使用日曆,把你的思考過程說出來(例如:「昨天是星期三。一、二、三、四。啊,所以今天是星期四。」)。當孩子掌握一個概念,他自然會積極要求自己完成某部分。你需要做的事就是示範和等待。

With our daily calendar, my daughter grasped the concepts very quickly within several days as the magnetic daily calendar encourages active learning (i.e., she has to think a little bit before arranging the magnetic pieces). 使用我們的小孩日曆後,女兒幾天就掌握了這些概念,因為這個磁鐵/磁石日曆提供主動學習的機會(就是女兒需要想一想才慢慢把適當的磁鐵放到日曆上)。

My Design of Daily Calendar 我的日曆設計

I have included in my daily calendar what my daughter asks almost every day: date, day, season, weather, and temperature. She is interested in the weather and temperature, because I myself ask Alexa several times a day, haha. 我把女兒差不多每天都問的項目都加到我們的日曆那裡:日期、星期、季節、天氣和溫度。女兒對天氣和溫度感興趣,因為每天我都問Alexa幾次,哈哈~

I also put a feeling box there, because being able to talk about one's feelings can soothe a child and help us understand them better. In the photo above, you may have noticed that my daughter has put both "sad" and "happy" in the feeling box. It is perfectly fine—she told me she cried a little when she was not able to do something, but she was mostly happy throughout the day. In fact, I love that she wants to show and talk about her feeling with the calendar when things happen. It has become one way to calm down. (I am working on an educational emotion card pack. Stay tuned!) 我還在日曆表上加了「感受」一欄,因為小孩若能表達感受,心情自然沒那麼壞,而且這樣也可以幫助我們更了解他們。你或許已經發現,在上面的照片中,我的女兒把「難過」和「愉快」都放在心情欄中,這絕對沒有問題,她解釋她整天大部分時間都開心,只是有一刻她做不好事情哭了一下。有事情發生的時候,女兒會用日曆表去展示和討論她的心情,其實我非常喜歡她的做法,選心情成為她冷靜的一個方法呢!(我正在製作心情卡牌呢,請密切留意!)

I have included 24 common feelings in the calendar pack. Some people might have a strong personal preference on the translations of emotional terms. However, I believe there is always something that cannot be translated to all languages. These bilingual feeling cards can be a start for you and your child to discuss and explore feelings in depth with different languages. 這個日曆包中有二十四個常用心情。有些人對心情詞匯有強烈的意見,但我相信並非所有事情都可以完全翻譯成不同的語言。這些心情卡可以是你和孩子討論和思考心情的開始,看看語言會否影響大家表達心情。

You do not need to put all small pieces out. This can be overwhelming. Just choose those that you are going to use (e.g., a few dates around today, the most common feelings that your child uses and two or three more that you want him/her to learn). 你不需要把所有小卡都放出來啊,這有點嚇人呢!選一些需要用的就可以了,例如近幾天的日期、你們家最常用的心情及兩三個你想小孩學的心情。

I printed our calendar chart and the small pieces on cardstock paper (110lb). I laminated the whole print-out and then cut out the cards and rounded the corners. Finally, I sent the laminated cards to the laminator one more time. I stuck round magnets on the back of the cards; you may use Velcro instead. Please note that the year pieces are small; the diameter of the magnets/Velcro should not exceed 0.8 inch. 我把我們的日曆和小卡配件打印在110磅的卡紙後,把整張紙護貝/過塑/過膠,然後把卡裁切出來,再用圓角器弄圓角,再把每張卡放進護貝機/過塑/過膠機一次。我在卡背貼了磁石/磁鐵,大家可以使用魔術貼/尼龍搭扣。請注意,年份小卡比較小,磁鐵或魔術貼直徑不宜超過0.8寸。

Here are the five versions of our children's daily calendar 我們的五個小孩日曆版本:

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Feel free to share with me how your family is using the children's calendar! I love listening to stories about teaching. 歡迎和我分享你們家如何使用小孩日曆啊!我喜歡聽有關教學的故事~

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