One a Day Fun

When my two boys were one and two years old, they often became restless and tired of playing with the same toys day after day. I sought help at the public library, but found that most books on preschool activities contained ideas for three- to five-year-olds. As I sifted out the activities suited for my children’s ages and interests, I filed the stories, pictures, and ideas I found according to six categories so I could assign one category to each day of the week, except Sunday. I then made a monthly calendar of activities (see the accompanying sample). We usually reserve Sunday for books of remembrance, baby books, appropriate music, and family lessons. The children’s toys are also kept in boxes according to category so they can find them easily.

Although my schedule is extremely busy, I make time to plan the simple activities on a calendar each month. This helps my children stay interested in their toys and look forward to learning something each day. Marlene Thomas, Provo, Utah

Manner Meters

A very simple device was a great help in teaching our preschoolers table etiquette and manners. I folded a small piece of cardboard in half and drew a smiley face on one side and a sad face on the other. As the children behaved and displayed proper manners, their “manner meter” displayed its happy side. But if they forgot and held their fork wrong, slouched, or spoke out of turn, their manner meter was turned to the sad side until they corrected their behavior.

We also made manner meters for Mom and Dad, and the children really enjoyed catching us with an elbow on the table or speaking with food in our mouth. This simple sign has made mealtime much more enjoyable for all. Pat Estes, Auburn, Maine

Sleep on It

My ten-year-old niece, Karen, writes in her journal every night without fail. Surprised at such consistency, I once asked her what she did to develop such a good habit. “One night after writing in my journal I was so tired I just slipped it under my pillow,” she said. “I left it there when I made my bed in the morning. Then the next night when I went to bed, my journal was right there so I just wrote in it and put it back under my pillow. I did this until it became a regular habit. Now I can keep it on my night stand or in the bookcase, and I still never miss writing in it.”

I have followed her example—and now that good habit is mine, too. Lois Bartholomew, Smithfield, Utah

Our Sunday Evening Tradition

We have a Sabbath evening tradition that has weathered eleven years. We enjoyed success with it even when our children were younger.

After a full Sunday, we all dress for bed, turn off all house lights, gather with pillows in the living room, the family room, or a bedroom, and lie down somewhere. Dad announces the order of speakers, and then we proceed one by one to tell any story we choose—with just one stipulation: it must be a true story. Most of our stories are scriptural, though sometimes we draw from Church history, the experiences of General Authorities, our own lives, or stories from our family heritage.

Everyone participates. (When the children were younger, we excepted those who didn’t yet talk, of course.) Earlier in the day the older children have thumbed through their illustrated books of scriptural and Church history stories to choose a story. We sometimes help our preschoolers refresh their memories on details, if they choose a story they already know; if they choose a new story, we read it over several times with them. Over the years we have enjoyed again and again such favorites as the stories of Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Daniel in the lions’ den, Jonah, the Christ Child, the Savior calming the waters, the Resurrection, Paul on the road to Damascus, Lehi’s exodus, and Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

This has been a golden opportunity for us to bear testimony to the truth of the scriptures and for our children to learn the gospel and find an enjoyable Sunday activity. Besides, it’s so nice to end the day quietly. Jeanine Franson, Farmington, Maine

Calendar History

My in-laws live nearly five hundred miles away, and it’s hard to maintain contact through more than a once-a-week telephone call. But proud grandparents are always eager to hear of their grandchildren’s activities, so I devised a simple way to keep them in contact.

I acquired medium-sized calendars and began to record our three daughters’ daily accomplishments. Since the space for each day is limited in size, I note only the day’s highlights, trying to record at least one remark about one child. At the end of each month, I simply tear off the calendar page, write a note on the back, and send it to Grandmom and Grandpop. Needless to say, they are delighted—especially when I try to include a few pictures at the end of the month.

This monthly tradition does wonders for the morale of the grandparents, who need to be included in our family. Nancy Betts Gorzesik, Raleigh, North Carolina

[illustrations] Illustrated by Bill Swensen