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Breakfast – Its Letter Time!

Start your day off right with a few fun ideas for reinforcing letters and their sounds!

  1. Pancake letters – pour pancake batter on a skillet to form letters for the child to recognize.  Remember to pour the letters backwards so that they will be correct when the pancake is flipped!  We spell our names at least once a week in pancake batter!
  2. Set your oven to broiler, and use squeeze butter to write letters on a piece of bread.  Toast the bread in the oven or in a toaster oven (not a toaster).  The butter will brown and the letter will be very visible!
  3. Arrange dry cereal in a letter shape (such as Cheerios or Honeycomb).  See how many letters your child can create on his or her own!

There’s A Letter In My Lunch!

Every moment is a teachable moment, including meal times.  Whether your child eats at home or is away for a meal, you can find ways to make it fun and educational!

What follows are ideas that I have gathered from fellow parents through observation in my pre-k classroom.  There are loads more – share in the comments if you can think of others!

  1. Sandwich letters: create a “letter puzzle” by cutting a sandwich to resemble a letter (in my class, I have a parent that cuts the Letter Of The Week for each sandwich).  Leave the “extra” sandwich parts to create a puzzle for your child.
  2. Eating the Art: using diluted food coloring, paint the letter of the week on your child’s sandwich.  Or cookie.  Or graham cracker.  Or cheese.
  3. Create a lunch with items that begin with the same letter: bread, banana, beans, biscuit, and bacon for letter B, and cheese, carrots, corn, cup (of fruit!), and even a “circle sandwich” for letter C!
  4. Label baggies, foil and/or plastic storage items with the names of foods inside.  Sharpie pens will work on any of these surfaces (use masking tape if you don’t want to write directly on something).
  5. Write a note for your child on a napkin in the lunch box, using as many words with the same letter as possible.  For instance, in a week where letter P is being introduced, perhaps say something like, “Have a perfectly pleasant day.  Be polite and play nice!”  Even if the child can’t read, the teacher can read the note to him or her, and the child can identify the letters.

Long Distance Friendships

In our transitional society, children tend to slip in and out of friendships quite easily.  With relocating being the “norm”, children are constantly falling in and out of social situations, such as school, clubs, church and other organizations.

Every once in a while, though, children will make a connection with a peer that seems to be something deeper than just your classmate-friendship.  These close relationships are ones that tend to stand the test of distance and time and are most notable from about fifth grade and up.  Long distance friendships require work, though, to keep them up.  Here are some pointers to helping your older child keep those friendships that mean so much to him or her:

  • Give them a call.  With so many calling plans today offering free or flat-rate long distance, allow your child to make a call every now and then and touch base with an old friend.  It doesn’t have to be for long – just a few minutes to say hello and find out what exciting things are going on with their friend.
  • Remember birthdays.  Send a card or even a small gift for a birthday or holiday.  Make a homemade card with a handwritten note inside.  Remembering special days is a great way to keep up with friends.
  • Make a point to schedule a visit if you are ever back in the area (or your friend is visiting close by).  Pick a neutral area, such as a park or a fast food restaurant so both parties are on “equal territory”.  If possible, arrange a mini-vacation for the kids.  When I was in junior high, my best friend and I were five hours apart.  I would spend a week at her house in the summer, and then she would spend a week at mine.  Those summers are probably my most favorite memories growing up. 
  • As the parent, be aware of the status of the friendship.  If there is some friction, help your child address it.  Perhaps it is time to let the relationship end and revisit it later.  Be an open and unopinionated listener for your child when things just don’t seem “right”.

Letters to Travis

My mother-in-law started a project almost 8 years ago that has evolved into an Event each August.  She hand-wrote a letter to her first-born grandson, my son, Travis. 

The letter was a recap of events from his first year and her thoughts and feelings for him.  It ended up being two full pages by the time she finished, transcribed onto some beautiful paper and placed in sheet protectors in a binder.  We placed the binder on the bookshelf in his room, a treasure among his treasures.

Each year, my mother-in-law slips a letter into his binder, a reflection of his year, the feelings she has for him, and the hope she has for him in the ages to come.  Each year, a letter on one or two pages, lovingly written and placed in the binder.  And each year, I sit down and read the letters, from beginning to end, marveling at the growth of my child and the amazing relationship he has with his grandmother.

Composing a letter to a child each year is a small gift with insurmountable meaning.  It is a treasure and a keepsake, a reflection of the past and a hope for the future.  Start a letter binder for that special child in your life.

Consider stepping it up a bit and binding the letters into a book!

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