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How to Teach a Tot the Days of the Week

Is today a school day? Which day is Friday? When do I go to ballet? The days of the week are second nature to adults, but to 3- and 4-year-olds, they're still pretty puzzling.

"Preschoolers start to pick up on the names and order of the days and may be curious about the differences they've noticed between weekdays and weekends because of family and school or daycare routines," says Bradley Bradford, M.D., a pediatrician in Pittsburgh.

You can help your child navigate the week by naming the days that regular activities fall on. For example, you might say, "Today is Monday, so you have music class, and since tomorrow is Tuesday, Dad is going to work late."

A big family calendar posted at your child's eye level is also an effective teaching tool. You can explain that there are five work- (or school) days and two play or weekend days in each week and mark them with symbols or letters (such as "W" and "P"). Or try color coding if your or your child's schedule doesn't follow the regular workweek. Either way, relate the names to how she spends her days and she'll grasp them more quickly. By the time she's in kindergarten, she's apt to have them down.