16 answers

I Have a Stubborn Almost 3 Yr Old Who Does Not Want to Learn His Shapes, Colors

My almost 3 year old son is so stubborn! I have tried everything to get him to know his colors, shapes and abc's and he just says "no mama don't teach" I have tried making games out of it. Any suggestions?

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Thank you ladies for the great advice!

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i have 3 stubborn boys- 2yr, 3 yr, and 6 yrs, good luck with that. ha ha, no actually i have to say - keep it up- he is learning more than you know- just sing abc's around the house and count while he is around. point out colors in general conversation , ie. "look at that big green truck" it is just his way of being "in control" while he is trying to find his place and boundaries. he really is soaking up the info! good luck- K.

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i have 3 stubborn boys- 2yr, 3 yr, and 6 yrs, good luck with that. ha ha, no actually i have to say - keep it up- he is learning more than you know- just sing abc's around the house and count while he is around. point out colors in general conversation , ie. "look at that big green truck" it is just his way of being "in control" while he is trying to find his place and boundaries. he really is soaking up the info! good luck- K.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the other moms. Don't push it. I tried when my son was younger too and it didn't work. He's almost 4 now and has so much interest in shapes/colors/letters & numbers that it's almost a hassle to go anywhere because he asks so many questions!! Also, I would limit the amount of time he watches TV - limit it as much as possible.
One thing I noticed about my son also, was that I thought he was being stubbon about not wanting to learn, but he actually gets nervous under pressure (a 3 year old!!) and so his answer was just to tell me no. Now that he's gotten through that stage he WANTS to be the center of attention :)
Best of luck,

Don't push it. I remember being concerned when my then 4 year old showed no interest in learning his ABCs. None. He didn't want to look at them..didn't want to learn how to write them. Right before Kindergarten, he became interested all on his own...with no prompting from me. He would spend hours copying letters and asking me how to spell words.

This is going to sound bad, but do you let them watch TV? I would never say this is the BEST way for it to be done, but it worked for my son. He seemed stubborn when I tried to get him to learn this stuff. Then he watched Barney and Thomas the train. At 2 years old he was signing his ABC's (except L M N O are just blurred) counting to ten and could tell me what color his favorite engines were. I also got him some of the talking puzzles so when he was playing on his own he would have that help. However, they are very annoying because they go off at every little thing (sunlight, turning lights on and off). still, I think they have helped.
Mostly, I would just keep saying it. You can stop quizing him and just say things like: Look at that red car, that ball is the shape of a circle. Sing the ABC's just as a song and count things out yourself, like as you are putting toys away. He will be taking in ALL of it, he just doesn't want to "perform". My son never does something or repeat something if I really want him to, especially in front of people. One day you will over hear your son counting or singing and know that he gets it!
Oh, side walk chalk works well too. I don't quiz him, I just tell him I am making a yellow sun or a green square. Once he gets more comfortable, he might start answering questions from you more.

I'd say your son is pretty smart if he can tell you not to teach him. Have you tried asking him? Does he ever watch the tv show on nick jr. that are about shapes/colors/numbers/letters? Does he ever interact with those shows? Just because he doesn't want to answer the questions, doesn't mean he doesn't know them. Some children want to keep it all to themselves. You can ask him what is his dinner plate in the shape up. buy some arts/crafts shapes at wal-mart they are the foamy sticker kinds. One day to circles on paper, another day do squares. Let him choose his art work. Then when he is done and proud of himself, he just might tell you what the shapes are!

Does he like sports? Get him outside to kick a ball...he'll start opening up to you. You can ask him what all the things are outside (tree, bird, sky, moon, stars) They love to tell YOU!

Music, music, and more music. They don't even know they are learning.They are great CD's about shapes and colors. It worked for my 3 children. I hope it works for you. Just keep on listen even when you are sick of hearing it!

I would bet that he knows them all already! When my now 8 year old was 2, we didn't think that she knew any colors, or how to count or anything (and we didn't care, either) but whenever something went missing, she would "slip up" and ask for her green crayon, for example, or know that she didn't have all of something (counting), etc. She also knew her ABCs long before we realized it, and how to spell her name.
Having a stubborn child can be very frustrating, but I just keep telling myself that a stubborn child is usually more self sufficient, and will not succumb to peer pressure!!! Stubborn people are usually born leaders, not followers.

I had my son tell my colors by eating M&M's. I would take out about 10 each time we did this and he only got to eat it if he named the color the right way. It worked for him.


I wouldn't push it ; ) You can't force him to learn, he will when he's ready.

I have a great idea for you to help your child want to learn his ABC'S.
Go to http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=2458337
This movie is so GREAT that he will enjoy learning and not know that he is.
It is called Leapfrog: Letter Factory.
I have 3 kids and this is wonderful for all of them. If you get this DVD make sure that you always put it up high and take real good care of it and always keep it in its case because this DVD is something that you will want to have for a long time.

We have 2 DVD players in our van and when ever we go somewhere I pop it in and they are buckled up and they have to watch it. They think that they are watching a great movie but SHHHH don’t tell them that they are learning. LOL

This DVD only cost $9.77 from Wal-mart.
Go to your local Wal-Mart and check first, they might have it. It is in the toy department with the leap frog items. If they do not have it then go to that web site that I gave you up above and you can get it there. RIGHT NOW THEY ARE OUT OF STOCK BUT KEEP CHECKING.

They also have several more that you might be interested in at this site.


We have another one called, Leapfrog: Talking Words Factory.
We enjoy this one as well.

God Bless your little one.
From one mom to another.

wow, as I homeschool mom of four, I would say... DON'T PUSH... kids learn naturally when they are ready... don't worry and don't stress... he is still VERY young! Enjoy this time as it goes by VERY quickly... my son will be 18 next month!

I agree with your son, "no mama don't teach" . Instead, turn it into different fun games for him. I'm sure he likes to have fun and there are so many ways to have fun and learn at the same time he won't even realize that he has learned, but he will know his colors, shapes etc.

I went to walmart and got a learning book called flash action combo for preschool it comes with a cd-rom filled with numbers, shapes and colors my son is 3 and already has finished it once and still loves it.

Have you tried a Preeschool program for him. Maybe all he sees in you is his Mommy, not his Teacher. Socially, it would be a great advance for him.

It might worry you if he continues not to accept teaching and reflects this in school later.

Don't push him, but see if you have a good Preeschool program in your community that offers a good start for him, even for a few hours daily. Good luck.

I personally would not push it.

my daughter who is now 5 taught herself her shapes ,colors 123's and her abc's.

by playing ... when she would ask mumma what color is this .. i would tell her then say i bet you can find simular colors...if she was interested she would find the same color if she wasnt i let it be.

good luck.

It is difficult when they dont want to do something. I am an educational consultant for Discovery Toys. We have a lot of diffrerent activities that will teach colors, shapes, ect for example the Giant Pegboard would be great for him! It has diffrent shapes and colors for him to attach, stack, knockdown on the pegboard. You should give them a look. I think they would help you out in this situation! www.discoverytoyslink.com/angiew

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