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Today I wanted to share exactly how I teach my kids how to spell their last name & phone number with ONE tip  – it is easy & I hope it is helpful!   I use this tip for any tricky Kindergarten Sight Words or spelling words, too.
teach my kids their name & phone number
We have four kids and I want all of them to learn the important things, like their name, how to spell it, their phone number and our address.


Our kids each learn differently, and we can’t expect them to learn the same way.  When I was in college (at Pitt), we were taught about the different ways that children learn.   To put it basically, some learn through hearing, some through seeing and some through doing.  (The majority are Kinesthetic learners -AKA: Tactile Learners…  they learn by doing)

Spelling their, last name & memorizing multiple phone numbers is not an easy task for young children.   We have home numbers, cell numbers and grandparent’s numbers, to name a few.

This ONE trick solved it.   Within a week, they had these items down pat.  Each of the kids – no matter which way they were learning, we’re able to learn their number & spelling of their name.

Our kids have a set bedtime.  They go to bed around 7:30 and they usually fall asleep around 7:45 or 8:00.   In the meantime, they toss and turn, they sing, they talk (in their own rooms, alone).  I used this opportunity to add things for them to look at when laying in bed.

First, I added our phone number.  I wrote it on a little piece of paper and I taped it next to our son’s pillow.

teach my kids their name & phone number
Every night, I heard him laying there, repeating it, out loud.   “XXX-51X-XXXX”  and a few nights later he would ask me to listen to him saying it, with his “eyes shut”.  He was SO proud of himself!

So, I took it a step further.  I added our last name to a piece of paper & taped it there, too.
(ps- not to worry, this is not our real number)

how i teach my kids their name & phone number - your modern family

I noticed that he was having a harder time with his last name because he couldn’t see it well (he doesn’t wear his glasses to bed), so I wrote his last name in large letters on the slats under the bunk bed, because I could make it really big.

I ALSO WRITE THINGS ON COPY PAPER AND THEN SLIDE IT IN BETWEEN THE SLATS, SO THAT I CAN CHANGE IT OFTEN (like their school lunch number or a special sight word that they are having trouble with.)   I can just take it out when they have learned it.   Easy, right?


No one will ever see it and I wrote it in crayon (I told him that he is not allowed to do this!).      He then started reciting the letters to our long last name: Mansfield.     (He was always forgetting that “s” until we did this).
Guess what he wanted to show me a few days later?   Yep- you guessed it!  He could spell our last name, without looking at the letters.

Next up… those sight words that are tricky for him! (click here for a printable list)

I plan on doing this with his spelling words each week, too.  I will simply write them in large print on a sheet of paper each week and tape them beside his bed.  Each week I will swap out the old paper for a new one with new words.

Hey- a book under his pillow might not work, but this does!



kindergarten sight word list

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. I am totally amazed how many children these days do not know their telephone or address #! 2night I asked a 10 year old his house no. And if it faces 10th street and he didn’t know! Another piped up that he knew where his classmate lived, by the river and I thought that was cute.gr8 bedtime learning ideas.

    1. Thanks for including the area code in the telephone number! Some areas don’t have to use all ten digits (while some do) but with all the cell phone overlaps, seven digits may not be enough in an emergency!

  2. My kids struggled to learn our phone number, so I set our ipad passcode to be our 10 digit phone number. They had it down within a few days. It’s amazing what kids will learn when it’s standing between them and Netflix.

  3. Our son will be 3 in February, and while he can spell his first name, I think it’ll take him awhile to learn the last name. Plus, our last name is Chiodo-Benmuvhar, so we would need a king-sized bunk bed to fit it all on there (or that old banner style copy paper to wrap around the whole room LOL!). My husband works at a university and we have to live on campus, so we don’t really have an “address” to our actual apartment. But I can start teaching him my cell number! We have this joke that if he can spell his last name before kindergarten, he should go straight to the gifted program LOL!

    Great ideas in here!

  4. What a cool idea! I don’t have children but passed this on for my nephew. I love it! I found your website via Facebook from a post someone shared–the ‘Why I Put My Kids to Bed at 7pm’. I read that and found it so interesting because I have experienced some confusion as to why my sister puts her son to be SO EARLY as well and being a non-parent myself, don’t typically ‘get it’. That said, now I understand and it was a really informative post. If I had kids, I’d read your site daily for all the great tips 🙂 Keep up the great blogging!

  5. That’s a great idea! I know that friend up, I memorized a lot of things that were hung on our walls – it’s a great tool.

    My boys are still too little to read any can’t identify all the numbers yet, but they both know my phone number because I put it to a tune. We sang it multiple times over 2 days and they had it down pretty well. Now we sing it every couple days as a reminder and even the 2-year-old knows it.

    1. We did the same thing but used an iPhone app called (appropriately enough) “Teach Phone Number to Kids.” Not the best name for an app IMHO, but it really worked and I did’t have to do anything.