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Teaching a 3 yr old toddler.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

Is it necessary to teach writing and reading(reading means spellings and stuff) to toddlers right from when they are 2 years. Or to put it more straight does anyone of you have kids who have showed absolutely no interest in writing and spellings when they were 2 and half to 3 or were not exactly interested in learning but only playing. But did pretty decently when they went to school/kindergarden and actually picked up these things like reading and writing in kindergarden. Or should they be well versed in these before going to school.

 

Because right now my toddler is not interested in learning but only playing. For eg. I ask him to count with me ....he counts but not in order and he ends up counting double times. Or when i count say there are five things and tell him there are 5 apples....he negates me saying no mommy there are not 5 apples but 7 apples and laughs. sometimes i get frustrated. When i try to get him to write. I try to hold his hand to try to make him trace the alphabets but he pulls back his hand and snatches the crayons and scribbles. He absolutely does not listen to me. And now a days with me being pregnant and working I am so exhausted at the end of the day that sometimes i leave him to play on his own. But after sometime i do feel guilty for not making him learn anything and just leaving him to play. 

 

I do read to him a lot. He does tell me what is going on in the picture when i show him a page in the story book. But when i try to teach him spellings like "cat" "bat " again he is not interested. When i ask him what is C A T, he does tell me it is CAT but when i ask him to spell CAT he is lost. 

 

I don't mind him not telling but he does not listen to me. He runs off to go to play or is interested in something else.

 

This is frustrating me a lot. He is 2yrs 7 months old. Please advice.

 

Thank you!

post #2 of 17

Kids learn through play at that age especially. Try not to be so formal about it with your little. When they're ready they'll let you know. thumb.gif

post #3 of 17

Way too early to be expecting a child to write or read. If a child does want to learn things that early, you will know it. If they don't, it's really no big deal. Let him play, let him have fun. There is plenty of time for formal learning in school.

post #4 of 17
I found that having fun and being playful is the best way to teach. For instance, reading fun books with science themes (Magic School Bus, comes to mind); or counting in an enthusiastic way while setting the table together ("one - that's for daddy, two- that's for me, and you get number three").
post #5 of 17
Two or three is very early to expect a child to be interested in learning to read and write. True, there are some children who naturally are interested at that age, but not the majority. Just let him play and he will learn what he needs to learn. You should look through this forum to see the threads about people who believe that learning to read before kindergarten actually is a problem because then the kids are bored! It's fine. Just enjoy him and let him lead the way on play and learning.
post #6 of 17

Holy moly WAY too early.  My 8 yo wasn't reading until he was almost 6, and didn't really take to writing until just last year (he did it in Kindy and first, but wasn't crazy about it), and he's now ahead of the curve in both and was recommended for the gifted pull out program in 3rd grade.  My daughter had NO interest in writing until she was 5, and started reading when she was 5 too and also took off on her own and is a full grade level ahead reading.  

 

Trying to force academics this young in a kid who is not interested is not only going to create a struggle between you two, but is not necessarily going to confer a great advantage to him.  Kids usually even out around 3rd grade...the ones that were "worked with" when they were younger even out with the ones that weren't (but caught up), and that's where you start to see kids come into their own abilities and talents.  Obviously, precocious kids are going to learn whether you want them to or not, but there will be NO forcing required with kids like that.  Those are the kids that teach themselves to read at 3, and teach themselves to write. You couldn't stop those kids if you wanted to.  lol.

 

I would say:

- Keep reading to him, a LOT

- Keep letting him scribble, a LOT

- Keep letting him play, a LOT. 

- Talk to him, with your regular vocabulary, a LOT.  

 

If you really feel the need to "teach" him, just do it in your everyday conversations with him.  "Let's go get a cup - here's a red cup!  Do you want the red cup or the blue cup?"  "Wow, look at that round orange sun!"  "I have 5 carrots here!  1, 2, 3, 4, 5!"   But I would NOT "quiz" him or make him sit to write letters at less than 3 years old. 

 

Give yourself, and him, a break and let him use that imagination of his to its fullest!!

 

PS - I'm pretty sure my daughter entered Kindergarten still skipping over 13 and reversing 14 and 15 when she counted out loud.  She's all sorted out now.  ;)

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

Thank you for all your responses. They have put my fears to rest. I specifically wanted to know about the below concern. 

 

"Or to put it more straight does anyone of you have kids who have showed absolutely no interest in writing and spellings when they were 2 and half to 3 or were not exactly interested in learning but only playing. But did pretty decently when they went to school/kindergarden and actually picked up these things like reading and writing in kindergarden. Or should they be well versed in these before going to school."

 

Any experiences that you can share about your kids or kids of people you know on the above aspect then that would be great.om.gif

 

Thank you very much everyone for your support and help. Since my DS is my first kid I tend to be overconcerned about him.shy.gif

 

Thank you!

post #8 of 17

I answered in my post just above yours, neither of my kids did either/any of those things when they were 2 or 3..or even 4 really....and both did extremely well in Kindergarten and continue to be above grade level now.  Please just keep letting him use his imagination - it's one of the single best things you can do for him!

post #9 of 17

Half the kids in DD2's K class this year couldn't even write their name. It really isn't an issue. I haven't had a single kid that was interested in any of that stuff at 2 or 3 or even 4. They did fine when they went to school. 

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

Thank you all for your replies!!!!!!!!!!!........They mean a lot to me.

 

Right now i am an expecting mom. Things are going downhill for me and I have started to have nervous breakdown. I am feeling stressed out and crying a lot. And since I am in my final stages of pregnancy(last trimister) I am really concerned. I know I should be in a positive frame of mind. But I am not taking care of myself and stressing out a lot. I am not able to handle my emotions.

 

I live in joint family with my in-laws and my nephew is diagnosed with Autism. He goes to a structured program and has therapies and he has improved a lot. 

 

I think he is academically inclined because at 3 he knows all his spellings, or rather he is obsessive about them and keeps repeating them. I learned writing alphabets numbers etc. Receptive sort of actions are soothing for him. So he lines up alphabets for hours, or writes for long time etc. He has a lot of energy because of his autism. But I guess he is on the right track as he is learning academic stuff. I am happy for him that he is finally on the track.

 

Now coming to my son. A very talkative boy, expresses himself a lot, interacts very verbally, Obsessed with cars, fun loving not very athletic but is physically active, loves books(I read out loud to him). He knows his numbers, shapes months...etc..... But mostly is involves himself with imaginative play a lot with his cars. He simulates traffic jams, going under the bridge, over the bridge, Rocket play etc....

 

But sad thing is he cares a damn about writing or other academic stuff especially writing. I was not very much concerned but the attitude of my family members is very disheartening. And this includes my husband. They always compare my son with my nephew. Say how hardworking my nephew is and how lazy my son is. y'day for instance my nephew was learning to write on the line and when he did everyone said good job and even my son after seeing everyone say that , with equal enthusiasm he also said "Good Job" to his brother. Immediately my mother in law started taunting him saying "what about you. You are not doing anything, you are not learning anything, you only keep talking". I could see my son feelings that minute. He felt so little and I pacified him a bit.

 

But in the night I really cried a lot. My son doesn't even go to a structured classroom. He attends a home based day care where there is only play. After coming home I spend a lot of time with him. But since he is not interested in writing I don't force him. Whereas my Nephew is very much academically pushed everyday. They work on him a lot.

 

Should i also push my son academically. I am not sure what to do. Do kids who have earlier start in academics have a greater edge than toddlers who play a lot.

 

I have no one to share my anguish with. And I am very sad. Its a lone battle for me. So I have reached out to share my experiences. Every body says my son is not academically inclined and very lazy. And even I have started to believe that and have started scolding him frequently. Like Y'Day I really forced him to write and when he didn't and started crying I started calling him all names and pushed him aside. I realized how wrong i was a few minutes later and regretted for it. But every time any family member talks like this i get worked up and end up getting an anxiety attack. My life has become a hell. 

 

Can you please advice me how I can become more confident and happy. How can i tune out others voices and enjoy my son for what he is. Now I started to think he will never do good in school because I am not pushing academics on him right from now.

 

Thank you for listening.

post #11 of 17
The only problem here is the behavior of your family. I hope you said something to your mother in law! And your husband needs to get on board! Their behavior is completely unacceptable and they need to be told that, and to not compare your son to your nephew. Some kids learn thing A before thing B, and some kids learn thing B before thing A, but they both end up learning both A and B if given the chance.

Most kids at 3 are still in imaginary play zone. Your son sounds bright and very normal to me. Some kids show an interest in learning to read, but not all, and those who start reading early don't necessarily end up reading better or doing better in school.

IMO our job with kids this age is to follow their interests, whatever they are. If his interest is imaginative play, then great! He's learning a lot through that! Have fun with him. If he at some point shows interest in letters, then follow him in that as well. But pushing him in something he isn't intersted in at age 3 is not going to make him become interested or learn anything.
post #12 of 17
I comPletely agree with mamazee. Pushing him this young is only going to get him to have a negative associations with academics. He is learning social skills, oral language skills, and working on his motor skills through play. It sounds like your poor nephew doesn't get a chance to be a kid while your son is growing up in a supportive environment where he gets to develop at his own pace. Please find a way to stand up for him in front of your DH and the extended family. Big hugs to you!!
post #13 of 17

OP, my son is the same age as yours and is not at all interested in writing or spelling or reading! My 5-year-old is still not all that interested in learning to read, and I am not all that worried about it (though we get some of the same comparison, criticism) 

 

I think it is simply not developmentally appropriate to push a 2-year-old to write or read or spell.  I would work on colors and shapes, but in a fun way-my kids love it when I yell out a shape or color (in English for my 2-year-old, Spanish for my 5-year-old) and they run around the house looking for it.  Try to make it fun, not "work" or you are probably in for a battle.  Pull out crayons while you are coloring together and just name the color, or count things around you while he listens, but don't expect him to act all that interested or do it with you-he is absorbing everything you are saying and understanding more than you know, even if he refuses to participate. 


In terms of your in-laws/husband, find a set of developmentally appropriate expectations for a 2-year-old online, print it out, and show it to them.  I am willing to bet that MOST 2-year-olds and probably even most 3-year-olds are not reading and writing and spelling.  If they don't believe you, maybe they will believe an  "expert"-even ask your doctor for a list of what kids should be doing at each age if you think that will convince them!  I would say ignore them, but you and your son have to live with them and they need to back off making him (and you!) feel inadequate.

 

My 3-1/2 year old niece just learned to write her own name, but that is about it-I think my dd didn't start writing her name until 4ish and she is very bright, imaginative, and I fully expect her to do well in life :)  Again, my son is the same age as yours and still scribbles, can only count a few numbers with prompting, knows most of his shapes and colors, and certainly could care less about learning to spell, but he is also bright, imaginative, very physical, and I feel very secure that he is on a great path :)

post #14 of 17
I agree with those who said that the adults around you are the ones with the poor behavior. It would be best if you can get your husband on your side, and I would add that moving away from the others as soon as possible is the next priority. A lot of stress for you at a time when you don't need it!

Imaginary play at 3 is normal. He sounds very bright, and compassionate! Make sure you tell him other adults have a much better opinion of him!
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

In terms of your in-laws/husband, find a set of developmentally appropriate expectations for a 2-year-old online, print it out, and show it to them.  I am willing to bet that MOST 2-year-olds and probably even most 3-year-olds are not reading and writing and spelling.  If they don't believe you, maybe they will believe an  "expert"-even ask your doctor for a list of what kids should be doing at each age if you think that will convince them!  I would say ignore them, but you and your son have to live with them and they need to back off making him (and you!) feel inadequate.

 

 

This, and/or if your have a pediatrician or group you can go to to get their "approval" that your son is FINE NOT DOING THESE THINGS.  OMG, I would not be able to deal with what your family is putting you and your son through.  I am sorry you both have to  deal with that.  :(

 

About as mainstream as you can get, from PBS, about 2 year olds: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/two/index.html  , in particular:  " They also make a variety of scribble marks anywhere and everywhere"

 

For 3-year-olds:  http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/three/index.html ,  in particular:  "During the year, scribbles begin to appear more like letters and children may string several of these "letters" together to form mock words. They become aware of the uses for writing and may dictate words for adults to write down."  

 

Finally, for 4-5 year olds,..... almost 2 years OLDER than your child, they finally have this to say:  " Most children also are capable of writing some legible letters and know that writing goes from left-to-right and top to bottom."  

 

SOME legible letters.  At age 4-5.  NOT 2.  Not even 3.  Some kids do write letters earlier, absolutely - these are kids who WANT to (or are forced to).  Most kids don't, and kids who don't but play a lot and have their own things they're interested in are FINE.   My kids - who followed the milestones above almost exactly, but played a LOT with open ended things and had virtually no formal instruction on anything before they entered school, are now AHEAD of the curve in 1st and 3rd grade because they are creative and really know how to use their brains.  Imaginative play is CRUCIAL.    

 

Links for the importance of play:

 http://chronicle.com/article/The-Case-for-Play/126382/

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/play-preschool-matters/

http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/social-skills/1180-play-in-preschool.gs

 

Your family is expecting things of your kids that are almost 2 YEARS ahead of average.  WAY out of line.   I have to stop now or I may say something unkind.  Good luck!

post #16 of 17

I think you have received tons of great advice from the posts here.  The expectations are completely out of line for his age.  Kids absolutely catch up - if one child learns to read at 3, and one at 8, you usually can't tell the difference at 13 - in fact, if you peek at the unschooling forum on here (or read John Holt) you will find that really, all kids will learn these things from their environment alone (no teaching even necessary!) when they are ready, asking for your assistance, facilitation and resources where needed.  If you let them wait until they are ready, they learn MUCH more quickly, with enthusiasm and far less effort and hours of work.  

 

There are also many benefits of child-led learning: self-confidence, joy in learning (not dread), independence, creative thought (not being drilled on one "right" way) and problem-solving.  At the very least, your child deserves a few years of creative play (which actually boosts brain development more than forced memorization!) before structured academics.

 

Beyond that, I just feel terrible for you and for your child growing up in such a negative, toxic family situation.  No wonder you are stressed!  You are reacting to the toxicity - that's not good for your son, you, or your unborn baby.  Please find a way to stand up for the three of you.  You may find some help in the Gentle Discipline forums, as well (many people struggle with extended family, etc.).  Their attitude is not helping your son - it's only damaging him deeply, and turning him away from academics (the opposite of what they are trying to do!).  

 

It is NEVER ok to make such hostile, humiliating remarks to a child.  And it is never ok to compare children.  It is always a comparison of apples to oranges, and implicitly unfair - and emotionally damaging to the child.  Plus, in this case, one child has a disorder that you acknowledged plays a part in why he finds these activities comforting.  That is a HUGE difference between them, right there - your son doesn't have autism, has his own talents, and maybe doesn't need to deal with the world that way.  Again, it's never ok to compare children, whether against a cousin or a sibling.  I mean, are these people going to start yelling at your newborn, because the baby can't scribble or play with cars like his/her brother? eyesroll.gif  That's how ridiculous they are being.  But beyond it being ridiculous, it's deeply harmful and hurtful to your son.  Hugs! hug2.gif

post #17 of 17

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