5 Key Times to Talk to Your Kids (Mama Monday Video)

5 Key Times to Talk to Your Kids (Mama Monday Video)

“Penny for Your Thoughts”

“What ya thinkin’?”

“Tell me everything…..”

“Let’s twalk!”


“Talk to me; show me that you care. Talk to me…I’ll listen to the words you say….You know I love you when I talk to you!”

Those were sayings/songs/sentiments I would say to my kids to get them to talk. They were used to me saying them….I had said them forever.

They usually WANTED to talk….

In part because we started when they were very young…

And in part because I was AVAILABLE! Always available….

(No television, computers, internet, smart phones, etc. for twenty-five years gives you a lot more time…oh to go back to “the good old days”!)

I did a Donna Daily video on Mama Monday about talking….

5 Key Times to be exact.

Here’s the video…and, of course, the outline! I’d love to hear your favorite talk times….email me or message me and tell me!

Love and hope, 



P.S. Be sure you get my Kids’ Faves freebie to find out your kids’ favorite things!

A. Start Now—Regardless of Where You Are!

1. Don’t think littles are too young

a. If you make talking a normal thing to them, they will always seek you out, always answer your questions, and always want your input.
b. Talk to them now—they’ll talk to you later!

2. Don’t think it’s too late

a. Might take more time, work, effort, and “detective work”—but still worth it.
b. Take different approaches

B. Five Key Times to Talk

1. Tucking in

a. “Malachi Time”
b. You tuck them in when they’re little; they’ll tuck you in when they’re older
c. Don’t be glad your teen went to their room early!
d. If they know they’ll have this time with you, they will save up things they need to discuss.

2. In the vehicle

a. “Who has their shoes on?”
b. Be careful using drive time for podcasts and phone calls
c. Be careful allowing kids to be on devices during drive time
d. Call it something “Talk and Drive” or “Road Talks” or something that indicates you are available when you’re in the vehicle with them

3. Table Talk

a. Have dinner together “more often than not” 
b. Make it a tech free time
c. Have talking prompts

i. Two roses and one thorn
ii. One great and one bad
iii. Good character I saw today
iv. Cards you draw
v. Read a quote or verse and discuss
vi. Question that gets answered by everyone around the table
vii. Use kids’ faves to ask favorites questions

4. “My Day” or “Day Away”

a. Kids remember to this day!
b. Let them choose what to do
c. Let them know you are available
d. Talk, talk, talk! And don’t put down or reprimand
e. One on one with both parents idea/spin off of this: Half birthday celebrations at restaurants with just the three of you

5. Activities Together

a. Art, cooking, exercising
b. Magazine Moments With Mom (MMM) 😊
c. Use little snatches of meal prep, grilling together, biking together, etc.
d. Driver’s training

C. Availability—Your Secret Parenting Weapon!

1. Make yourself available
2. Change your schedule
3. Drop the busy-ness!
4. Implement heart-focused parenting that is needed to raise kids today!

D. Resources

1. Podcast: Ways to Spend More Time With Your Kids https://characterinkblog.com/podcast-ways-to-spend-more-time-with-your-kids/ 
2. Podcast:Tips for Staying Close to Kids During Intense Training Times: https://characterinkblog.com/podcast-ten-tips-for-staying-close-during-intense-training-times/ 
3. Article: Four Things Teens and Young Adults Need: https://characterinkblog.com/?s=Four+things+teens+and+young+adults+need 
4. Article: Teaching Kids to Ask Questions: https://characterinkblog.com/52-weeks-of-talking-to-our-kids-when-its-time-to-ask-questions/ 
5. Video: Affirmation Cards: https://characterinkblog.com/52-ways-say-triff-affirmation-cards-families/ 
6. Keep Kids Close Cards: https://characterinkstore.com/product/keep-close-coupons/ 

ABC Recognition and Sound Letter Recognition Tips

ABC Recognition and Sound Letter Recognition Tips

Are you following me (or better yet, being my friend!!!??) on FB to watch my Donna Daily live videos? I hope so as I am having so much fun sharing the many things I love (and mannnny years of experience ha ha!) in these live videos!

So I have put a recent live broadcast at YouTube and here for you to watch with its detailed outline any time. How convenient is that? 🙂

Let me know if you need help or have questions….I’d love to help you out!

A. Natural Tips

1. Master’s work in Reading Specialist/thesis on natural readers—natural readers had many commonalities, including access to print, being read to a lot, letters and rhyming words activities all the time, natural teaching
2. Our protocol: Not teach anything from a workbook that could be taught naturally

a. Letters everywhere!
b. Sounds
c. Rhyming words
d. Games
e. Reading to child helps introduce letters, etc.

3. Alphabet books of all kinds are fine for reviewing and fun, but be sure that instructional materials are more specific (see below)


B. Tips for Choosing Letter Recognition Program

1. Letters should be written with the same font the student writes (ball and stick for a; no straight line for j, etc.)
2. Do upper and lower case letters together at first (separate them later—put both at same time so that they have more chance for success at first). As the student sees these together, the connection will be better between upper and lower for him.
3. Call upper and lower case letters the same thing all the time—capital/big/upper case; little/inferior case…be consistent; use same wording child does.
4. Best of all—primary letters with lines. This will give the student the proper orientation (how far up the little l goes or how far down the little p goes).
5. Using ABC letter cards (Here are mine)

a. Both upper and lower on cards for a while
b. Then matching upper cards and lower cards
c. Play Go Fish or Memory with the upper and lower cards

C. Using ABC Song and Order of Letters for Teaching

1. Use a poster or posterette with the ABC’s lined up exactly as they are sung.
2. Sing it with the student SLOWLY while pointing to the letters. Do not let him run them all together. (I let kiddos do that at the end—after we’ve done them painfully slow with the poster!)
3. Hang ABC posters around house
4. ABC order vs more specifically keeping short a, e, I far from each other and b and d not close to each other?


D. Sight Sound ABC Recognition

1. Use fun materials and teach naturally—Walmart starts the same as William does!
2. Be sure clue pictures are the following

a. Easily recognized, preferably nouns (not pointing to a hand where student wonders if it is a finger, wrist, hand, or palm)
b. Be sure the sound is not ambiguous (not orca for o—either short o (otter) or long o (oatmeal). Also do not use blends (star vs sun) or digraphs (chop vs cat)
c. Don’t do short vowel and long vowel (or soft and hard c/g) at the same time—my ABC cards and songs programs both use short vowels first time through then additional cards to do the long vowel beginning sounds
d. Use same clue words over and over again until sight sound mastery is reached. Student should always be able to say A says a as in ax and apple) (See ABC Song Posters)
e. Use clue words that are as short in length as possible (hat not hippopotamus—I use words from Dolch and Fry word lists so that the clue words are also the first words they will have in their readers when they learn to read!

3. Using ABC cards and clue picture cards together

a. Can use upper and lower case letters together if they are still unsure of them separately
b. Can use upper and lower separately if they are mastered
c. Match letters with picture that makes that sound (best if pictures come in two options—with the letters on them or on back and without the letters)


E. Resources

1. ABC products at our store: https://characterinkstore.com/?s=ABC 
2. Vocabulary-controlled readers from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=donna+reish+readers&ref=nb_sb_noss 
3. Color and read readers for new readers: https://characterinkstore.com/?s=color+and+read+readers 
4. Videos and Podcasts about teaching: https://characterinkblog.com/podcasts/ 
5. Follow or friend me so you don’t miss any Donna Daily teaching videos!

AIM—Answer It More (Using Parenthetical Teaching)

AIM—Answer It More (Using Parenthetical Teaching)

I love teaching! Love seeing a student’s face light up when they “get it”! Love hearing kids excited about their next writing project. Just really love it!

And one thing that makes me love teaching even more is the creativity that we get to use in order to help students “get” a concept.

Enter AIM–Answer It More.

More formally, this is known as parenthetical teaching, but you know my love for all things cute, memorable, and creative.

Plus, why parenthetical? I mean, parentheses are to de-emphasize. Why not dash teaching….dashes are to emphasize.

But I digress….

I recently did a live video training on how to use parenthetical or dash teaching to Answer It More (AIM–after all, that is the AIM of that type of teaching, right?)

And…I also have a freebie for you to help you remember key words and phrases to use!!!

So here you go…

Mama Monday: 10 Second Rule for Food on Ceiling—Majoring on the Majors With Behaviors

Mama Monday: 10 Second Rule for Food on Ceiling—Majoring on the Majors With Behaviors

In another Mama Monday Live Video (see Donna Daily post here for all of the Donna Daily broadcast updates), I tackled an important subject in parenting—Majoring on the Majors. Of course, raising seven kids (and having kids “at home” for 35 years!), we have a lot of “real life” examples of everything we teach. And this topic is no exception with our rather humorous (but true life!) story of how our “little boys” came up with the “Ten Second Rule for Food on the Ceiling”!

If you find yourself barking orders to kids for every move they make—and you’re not really feeling like you are getting to the important stuff—you might be right. I hope this video helps!

Love and hope,


Mama Monday: 10 Second Rule for Food on Ceiling—Majoring on the Majors With Behaviors


Using Expectation Explanations in Your Parenting (Live Video Training)

Using Expectation Explanations in Your Parenting (Live Video Training)

So I started a thing last week. I, alliteratively of course, call it “Donna Daily.” But it is a FB video challenge in which I go live every weekday for the month of June to teach about what I know and love or what has made a difference in our family, my life, my health, my relationships, my productivity, and more. (So what I know and love!) It is themed by the day (Mama Monday, Teaching Tuesday, etc.), and I’m pretty excited about it! (Learn more about it here!)

And I will periodically be sharing the videos here at the Character Ink blog, at Write for a Month, and at my lifestyle blog (https://donnareish.com) as the topics are applicable. So this is one of those!

On the first Mama Monday, I shared a favorite parenting tool we used for three decades (and still use with our grandbabies!) called Expectation Explanations. I have the full outline and video below!

Also, if you have heard me teach about something that you would like to hear again or learn more about, shoot me an email or private message, and I’ll work it into the Donna Daily schedule!

Love and hope,



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