23 answers

How to Teach My 2 1/2 Yr Old Son

Hi everyone, my son will be 3 in may and i'm not sure how far along he should be developmentally. He can't write his name or even sing the whole alphabet by himself. His math skills are slightly better but my main concern is that he doesn't seem to want to learn. He gets angry when i start singing the abc's, counting, pointing out colors or trying to show him how to write his name. I've tried all sorts of ways to try to make learning fun. We have those bath letters that stick to the tub, we have cut out shapes and colors from construction paper, made tons of letter and number games, tried counting coins, m&M's and even his little army guys. He is very bright and has no problem asking tons of questions and learning about what interests him. Everyone i talk to who has a child close in age says their child has no problem learning these things. I am a sahm and i watch a 1 yr old boy during the day. Some ppl have said he is behind because he isn't in daycare or preschool yet. Should i enroll him in daycare or preschool part time? I am starting to get very concerned as I don't want him to be behind when he goes to school! Any help/suggestions would be appreciated!

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I can't thank everyone enough for all of your responses. I can see now that I have been focusing on what he hasn't learned yet instead of working with him more on what does interest him. The truth is, as far back as I can remember, I have done poorly in school and struggled my whole academic life. I guess I just don't want my son to know that pain. I can see now he is his own person and I can't push or mold him a certain way. I will just support him and let him blossom into his own person at his own pace. Thanks again everyone!!!

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I think all the "people" that are saying their kids did those things at that age are lying to you. Most children can not write their age at 2.5 or 3.5 or even some at 4.5. I volunteer at my children's school and tutor kindergarten - there are plenty who do NOT know all the letters of the alphabet or even the #s from 1-10. Most know how to write their names now, but did not at the beginning of the year. You should search to see what is developmentally appropriate for his age and feel confident that he is where he should be and maybe even advanced.

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Honestly, since he is bright and you can tell nothing is "wrong", I really wouldn't worry about it. My step sister has 12 kids, and they all developed these skills at entirely different times. Several of her sons barely spoke before three. She home schools, so they cater to learning on a much more flexible individual schedule. As they grew older, they were all very bright and normal. The ones who learned later learned faster when they were ready. Do what you feel with daycare, but I think he'll do fine when he gets to school regardless. And good job working with him so much! He's absorbing more than he's letting on!

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Relax! My son went to nursery school at 3 and they were not writing their names. They were learning numbers and colors and letters. For a whole school year! Yes--my son knew the alphabet (He turned 3 in March before the fall of nursery school), numbers and colors but it was not boring for him. So he reviewed and other kids were just learning it. They were not "writing" the were painting, drawing, scribbling, etc!
My son is in Kindergarten now and they are writing their names and reading well. He is almost 6.
My advice--back off on the "teaching" of stuff to him. Kids that age are sponges and believe me, he is taking ALL of his surroundings, experiences, playing, etc into his little brain right now. He's learning every day, whether you see it or not. He'll be fine.
IMO, there is too much competition among parents and too much pushing for super-early achievement. It's ridiculous and not necessary--as another poster says--the kids tend to level out during the early school years. Your son is normal.
If you want to do anything, I would concentrate on fine motor activities to lay the groundwork for writing, proper pencil holding, etc. Find small things for him to pick up and put into a can. Pinching clothespins onto the rim of a bowl, etc.
This is the time in his life where he should be dumping your pots onto the foor and banging away on his drums! Don't pressure him. You don't want to add negative feelings toward learning for the future.

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I think you're listening to people who are pushing the limits. ENJOY your son. 2 1/2 to 3 is way too young to be worrying about forcing him into education. It will come soon enough, and when he's ready, he'll learn it so fast, it'll leave you in the dust. Instead of paying attention to what he can't do, or doesn't want to do, try noticing what he DOES do, what HE finds fascinating, and interesting. Does he like to build things? Create stuff? How does he interact with other people, and how has that changed as he's been growing.

My 13 yr old is very bright, but I didn't think she'd pass the Kindergarten readiness test. She did, so I let her go to school. I am kicking myself now, because she's one of the youngest in the class, and while she's age appropriate socially, she HATES school, and has ever since kindergarten. She comes home from school and sits at the pc writing little novels and stories, but she's getting C's and D's in language arts and literature. Go figure. She SHOULD be a good B student, but she hates school.

So I wouldn't push him. And if at age 5, you have doubts about his readiness to sit in a classroom, then enroll him in a preschool and wait a year for Kindergarten. There's no point in pushing them - they will get there when they are ready. And, in the meantime, if you are able to maximinze your enjoyment of and praise for the accomplishments he does, especially the ones that are important to him, you will be helping to grow his self esteem, rather than having him frustrated and feeling badly about being pushed to learn things he isn't ready for and doesn't want to learn. Your son isn't even 3 yet. Most kids at that age don't have the fine motor coordination to write letters, so I don't know who is telling you their kids could write their names at that age. Are these people nuts?

If you do want to interest hiim in books, then model that. When he's playing, simply grab an interesting picture book, sit nearby and read it aloud. He may pay no attention, but at some point, he may come right over and start asking about the pictures, and listen to the story. I just wouldn't force it, because what you really want is to spark HIS interest, not force him into a mold.

Good luck ! Parenting can be challenging, it can be fun. But it's the most fun when we relax as parents and watch our child's natural curiosity unfold and take over the whole process. Don't let other people make you feel badly about what your child can and can't do at what age. Every child is different and every child has a slightly different time table. Take your cues from your son, and help him to expand in the areas that most fascinate him. What he learns by doing that, will then expand into other areas of life. You'll both win. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

I think all the "people" that are saying their kids did those things at that age are lying to you. Most children can not write their age at 2.5 or 3.5 or even some at 4.5. I volunteer at my children's school and tutor kindergarten - there are plenty who do NOT know all the letters of the alphabet or even the #s from 1-10. Most know how to write their names now, but did not at the beginning of the year. You should search to see what is developmentally appropriate for his age and feel confident that he is where he should be and maybe even advanced.

1 mom found this helpful

Calm down. It is early yet! AT 2.5 yrs, they dont even know the correct way to hold a writing utensil. 3 is when they really start to learn about letters and numbers. Start by teaching him his "letter" for his name. Dont worry! They make developmental leaps and bounds between 2 and 3! He should be fine. Preschool for a 3 yr old is not a bad idea, though. Good for socializing and skills that you get frustrated with. Good luck

Oh, he's too young to write his name and he'll let you know when he's ready to learn letters and numbers. They are all around him, so you don't even need to point them out to him. Enjoy him being 2 and 1/2!

Do not force him into school at 2 1/2. I feel that is way too young. They pick up all the bad habits from other kids more than learning education at that age. My son was (is) the same way. He will be five in June but I just put him in his 1st yr of preschool this yr at 4yrs. He still acts like it's a chore to learn. I too try making it fun, but he sulks about it. You'd be surprised how much your son knows but doesn't want to admit. I catch my son doing and saying stuff all the time when he thinks i'm not wathcing. If I ask him he says "I don't know". I think he sees my frustration and feeds off it. My son didn't learn to write his name until he was almost 4, so your son is not behind. Keep him at home for now and just continue to do what you are doing. Sing the alphabet to yourself while cooking or cleaning. He will hear it. That's how I got my kids to learn our phone #. Now they sing it to themselves. Good luck and don't let anyone pressure you into anything your not comfortable with. You sound like a very good mother.

He doesn't sound behind at all! My son is 4 1/2 and in his second year of preschool, only half of the class can write their names well. At 2 1/2 he should recognize some letters, shapes, and colors. He may be getting frustrated because he knows he can't do some of the things that you are asking him to do and instead of trying he gets angry (which is a pretty intelligent reaction). My other son just turned 3 in October, he can count to 5 and has no idea what his name looks like nor can he sing the ABC song. He's in preschool one day a week and the teachers are always telling me how bright he is. Teaching him these things is what preschool is for. Your son sounds like he is doing great and he has a wonderful mom!


Hi S.. When my daughter was a toddler I sectioned off a large shoebox with pieces of cardboard (like a christmas bulb box)and glued various squares of color to the bottoms of each square. I then balled up small pieces of paper in those same colors for her to sort. Before ever telling her what colors they were I just allowed her to play with this & learn sorting skills and recognition. Worked like a charm. She didn't know I was tryig to teach her anything.;0) If you are not the crafty sort, you can purchase those small colored sorters (bears, etc.) at any teacher supply store or probably on the internet & be able to have the same result. Good luck & have fun!

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