There are lots of thoughts and feelings as it applies to when is the best time to teach your child a particular skill. This is very evident when it comes to teaching your child academic building blocks that will take them on the path to reading. Learning the alphabet is often the first step a small child takes when beginning to prepare for reading. Parents become anxious as to when they should begin working with their child on this skill. But the good news is that there is no reason to become anxious! By using some of these simple suggestions you can introduce your child to the alphabet even in infancy and you may find that by the time they reach preschool they have a great grasp of their ABCs! Here is what you need to know about when you should teach your child the ABCs-
- Start when they are babies. Once it was thought that babies were simply little voids who were unable to process communication. Experts today have shown that this is not true. Even the youngest babies have visual and auditory processing skills to some degree. When you are dressing, feeding, bathing or simply just cuddling with your baby you can begin to teach them about the alphabet. Show them objects, explain what they are and let your baby know that cat begins with “c”. While you may feel foolish at first studies have shown that babies who are interacted with in this way have a significantly higher IQ and do better in school.
- Purchase toys that will stimulate interest in letters. Today’s baby toys are a lot more sophisticated than baby toys from the past. Colorful and visually interesting, you can introduce your child to letters with the toys they first play with all the way up to the early elementary school years. While they may not have a clear grasp of every letter before the age of two they will much more familiar with letters when you do begin teaching them the alphabet in the preschool years.
- Remember that every child learns through play. Parents become overly concerned with the competitive nature of academics today. While your child may be faced with a room full of readers at kindergarten there is still no reason to panic. Children who are given ample opportunity for free and creative play often test higher and are certainly much happier than children who are subjected to rigorous pre-academic training. It is important to keep in mind that if your child does not know every letter and sound by kindergarten they are still among the norm and can quickly grasp the rest of the alphabet when beginning school.
- Know your child’s limits. Some children are ready to begin learning the alphabet at two years old while other children may show no interest until 5 years old. Each child is different and it is important to watch for the cues from your child that will indicate they are ready to move onto a skill like learning the alphabet. In addition if you feel ready to teach the alphabet to your child and they seem overly bored, disinterested or are non-compliant simply put the task aside for a few months and wait for some more maturity to develop in your child. You may be surprised to find that in a few months they are eager and ready to learn their alphabet.
- Remember that less is more and simple is better when it comes to teaching the alphabet. While there are scores of great educational toys and computer games on the market that can help you teach your child the alphabet remember that everyday objects and short moments of teaching often work the best. And most of all remember that your child will only be this age once so be sure to make the most of the time whether or not you are teaching the ABC’s.