An easy countdown calendar (kids)

My family is a mobile one. We move every 2-3 years for dh’s job, often across at least one ocean. And we go back to visit friends and family in the US for a month or so most years.  And since there are 4 young kids in the family (now 9, 6, 3, and 2), and dh works a lot, all of the organization is left to me. Which is actually good, since it’s something I excel at!

Sometimes, though, this can be hard, especially on the kids. Kids thrive on routine, and for some kids, knowing change is coming up is harder than doing it (or close!). One of my kiddos falls into that category, and needs concrete ways to countdown and prepare in order to be that child’s best self. I think I fall into that category myself, come to think of it!

We use a calendar that I print out and personalize with all of our plans. We post it somewhere easy to see but out of reach of the littlest kiddos (who would love to use the pencil to color on everything!) and cross out the days as we go. Simple, clear, and concrete.

Here’s how we set up our calendar:

First, we get a dated calendar. I like to use the website pdf calendar, for free, adjustable calendars (you can start it on whatever day or month you like, have dates or not, months or not, etc.)

Then I personalize it, using colored pencils or markers. Family birthdays, playdates, appointments, holidays, candlelighting times, Rosh Hodesh, and travel plans all make the calendar. (Here’s our partially completed calendar.)

Countdown calendar

Last, we choose a place to hang it: in sight of everyone, but out of reach for the small kids who would “decorate” the wall with the pencil we attach. (Hint: wrap a length of string or fishing line around a pencil and tape it on. Then make a loop on the other end and tape the loop to the wall. Then store the pencil in the loop for easy access!)

We end up making one of these before anything we’re counting toward: Pesach, vacation, Tishrei, friends’ moving, our moving, etc. When we’re counting down to something, the kids asked for their countdown calendar the help lower their anxiety about all the packing and planning. They know what’s coming and when.

How do you manage transitions in your house?

About Amital

A die-hard listmaker and observant Jewish mommy of 5, managing the challenges of life bit by bit with the help of a Shalom Bayit book and lists. And chocolate, of course. Lots of chocolate.

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