When you talk to your friends who also have kids, they proudly tell you all the things their toddlers can do. Especially when their 3 year old toddlers know how to read and spell their names.
You thought to yourself, “Dang, my kid hasn’t been able to recognize the alphabets yet and he is slower than them.”
Then you set yourself a mission, to teach the whole alphabet to your toddler so that he can catch up with the other kids.
“Yes, it’s a competition. Game on.” - you said to yourself as you were at the store getting some alphabet boards. All excited, you went home with those new tools and tried to teach your toddler his first letters.
But your kid just didn’t want to participate. The more you forced him, the harder he resisted. He even cried whenever you grabbed the alphabet boards and asked him which letter you were pointing at.
It’s frustrating. Yes, I know how you feel.
My little niece did the same thing when my sister and whoever tried to teach her anything. Alphabet, words, numbers.
But here me out. It’s not about your toddler. There might be something you are doing wrong when teaching alphabets to toddlers. And once you fix them, you can get your toddler excited about learning.
6 dangerous mistakes when teaching alphabets to toddlers
Force your toddler to focus
Young children cannot focus for a long time. For toddlers, when you are lucky, you can get his full attention for around 3 minutes without any training. Otherwise, a few seconds to 1 minute is the common norm.
Remember all the times you space out sitting in front of your desk at work and cannot get any job done? Even that happens to adults.
There is no way you can force your toddler to focus, they can only focus if they want to, and the activity is so much fun that they cannot draw their attention to anything else.
No integrating alphabets into games
Games are fun and exciting. When learning alphabets is a chore rather than a game, it is no longer fun or exciting.
You will only have a toddler who hates boring chores.
There are plenty of ideas to integrate alphabets into games, like singing, jumping to the alphabets, matching the alphabets and colors, etc.
Not integrating alphabets into common words
There is no use in learning alphabets without having any idea where they are. If your toddler can memorize the entire alphabet but doesn't know where they appear in his life, it’s not useful.
Always introduce words along with alphabets. For example, instead of teaching letter A, show him the picture of the apple, and where the letter A appears in it.
Spend too much time each session
Again with the ability to focus for a short period of time, if you spend too much time teaching alphabets in each session, it will become a burden to your child.
For starters, from 2 to 3 minutes is enough. Once your child gets better in focusing on the alphabets, slowly increase the time by 1 minute each time.
Not repeat often
Do not get angry when you already teach your child a letter more than 20 times. And the next day it is like a brand new one for him.
Toddlers can remember things and forget things easily, especially when you don’t create an emotion (ideally positive one) along with the memory.
You don’t have to tickle your child every time you show him a new letter, but remember to repeat it often throughout the day.
You can have a learning session in the day, but always integrate the letters in every day’s activities and repeat the letters often.
Get frustrated and spread that vibe
Children know and feel emotions the best. They might not know exactly why, but they know when you are upset.
So if your child seems like he doesn’t understand or repeat a single letter after many times you’ve taught him, don’t get upset.
He will know when you are upset, and he will get scared.
Teaching alphabets to toddlers is possible at any age.
As long as you make them excited and do not consider it as a serious “work” or “job”. Make them see learning alphabets as a fun game with plenty of laughs and love.
And before you know it, your little one will start reading before you even teach them.