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!

My Chance to Vote in 1984


My Chance to Vote in 1984*

I like Nixon very much,
I like McGovern too. 
But if I had a chance to vote,
I don’t know what I’d do. 

First, I think I’d panic,
Then I’d stand and shout:
“Doesn’t anybody know 
What this election’s all about?”

I just hope whoever wins
Can stop this awful war. 
Because I want my chance to vote
In 1984. 

*In honor of President’s Day, I am sharing my first “published” poem. It was chosen for me to read over the PA system in my elementary school during the election when I was in fourth grade! My kids think it’s hysterical that I can still recite it!

Eleven Year Old Learns That a Baby In-Utero Is Truly a Baby!


With the partial-birth abortion ruling, our grown children had a lot to ponder and share. They know that a baby is a baby early on–not just because we told them forever or they learned it through their homeschool teaching, but because they experienced it first hand at young ages. Here is one daughter’s latest FB post–and her view of our stillborn baby when Cami was only eleven years old. Feel free to share with others.


Character Ink Private Tutoring–Writing, Math, Reading, Grammar, & Science

We are expanding our private tutoring and small summer classes at Character Ink! We have more availability now–and in five subject areas:

1) Writing–sentence, paragraph, report, essay, story writing; all levels; Directed Writing Approach to get non-writers writing immediately! Taught by a writing curriculum author of over 100 books totaling over 50,000 pages!
2) Math–from elementary through twelfth grade….your curriculum or one of our choice; remedial, brush up, SAT prep, and more. Taught by a math professional (former CPA and CMA).
3) Reading–from first grade and up; phonics, reading comprehension, reaching reading fluency, and more. Taught by curriculum author, elementary education degree and master’s work in Reading Specialist.
4) Grammar/Usage–taught in conjunction with writing or alone; parts of speech; punctuation; editing; spelling/structural analysis; and more. Taught by curriculum author and experienced teacher of over 100 students each year in grammar and writing for over 20 years.
5) Science–elementary through high school–basic science, earth science, physics, biology, advanced biology, chemistry; taught by experienced science teacher who has taught all of these subjects to many small groups for over 15 years and is a math professional.


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