My 2 Year Old Won't Pay Attention!!!

Updated on December 07, 2006
S.L. asks from Honolulu, HI
16 answers

I have a 2 year old who is not very receptive to learning anything along the lines of colors,shapes, counting,etc., I try not to compare him to my other two boys,4 and 13, but it is a fact that my 4 year old knew all these thing before he turned 2. Am I doing something wrong by pushing him?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for all of your responses. Alot of them have given me very good insite and I will be trying things in a different way, Thanks!

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answers from Portland on

I have 4 kids 15,11,81/2 and 3 and I have discovered that they all learned different my girls were faster and younger than my boys my oldest boy was really slow to learn to read and write and when we tried to teach him he would clown around and then get mad and throw down whatever it was and stomp away.
I stoped trying so hard and he started trying harder.
My girls I hardly had to work with at all my oldest girl was reading before her 3rd birthday and has always been above average for her grade level my youngest boy is just like my oldest girl he wanted to learn it took him a bit longer but he loves to learn and last but not least my youngest girl more like my oldest boy loves to clown around and does not pay attention but she is very bright she remembers every thing just like her older brother but she is harder to teach.
I guess what I am trying to say is dont get frustrated just let him go at his own pace.
We do simple things that are fun so that she doesnt realize we are teaching her some thing other wise she would protest.
She sings her ABC's and can count to 20 knows some colors but loses intrest in it so we play games with colors and shapes with her and she loves it then.
I also don't do it for very long so she does not lose intrest when she starts to fidgit or ignore what I am saying I stop.
Good Luck to you.

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1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Hi there.. Im H... I have a 2 years old as well and with mot thins shes the same way.. Just keep tring and eventually he will see the other kids doin it n decide to pay attention.

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answers from Portland on

I think it's hard when you have a child that learns everything early and then the next one seems to be uninterested. The reality is that all kids are different. Just by being around older siblings, your 2 year old is picking things up that your 13 year old didn't at that age because there was no older sibling at the time. I watched my 3rd child (now 5) like a hawk because he seemed so disinterested with so many basic things. However, by the time he was 3, he had an enormous vocabulary compared to other 3 year olds. He's in K now and still writes his numbers or letters backwards sometimes but he can sit down and have a conversation with you about DNA (oldest brother studied it in science last year, so...). At this point I would encourage learning while not making it look like that to him. Read books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear or talk about the color of his shirt ("Your shirt is red just like the apple is red"); stuff like that. Eventually, you'll find that he should easily transition to "games" like - "Your shirt is red just like the apple is red. I see something else that's red. Do you?" Making it a game makes "learning" more fun and they don't even realize they're being taught something. Heck, I'm almost 40 and I still prefer to learn that way!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I can understand you wanting him to know all those things like just older brothers. But please remember that all children are different. He may not want to sit down and learn, but there are plenty of other ways to learn. When you are in the grocery store you can talk to him about the differnt colors and shapes of products, ceral boxes are rectangular, apples are green and red. He'll think you are talking about the shopping but really it is a lesson in so much more. You can even just leave the learning materials out on a table for him to touch and play with when he wants too and when you see him over there you will see when he is interested and use that time to encourage his learning. There are lots of ways to influence his learning without pushing. As a former preschoolteacher, I can assure you one thing. He will learn it, just when his ready. He walked and craled and talked when he was ready and the same holds true for this. Just keep encouraging him.

Mom to 2 beautiful girls 4 and 1

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Mine is the same way in fact a couple days before he turned 2 is when I started understanding most of what he says to me. My daughter was a great talker at 1 and knew her abc's at 18 mos my son is pretty normal I think because the day care way always telling me she is the brightest kid there. they always advance her at 18 mos she was in the 2 year old room and at 2.5 they had her in 3's and as soon as she learned potty she was in 4's but she was'nt even 3.5 yet. My daughter is a very bright girl I don't compare my kids because of that. although he is more advanced then my brother was at his age. my brother did'nt talk much until 4 years old. so I guess it just depends on the kid and what they want to do. Don't rush them. plus boys develop slower than girls. but when they get it they really get it fast. it's like they've known how all the long. don't worrie. it's not like school is next month.



answers from Portland on

You bet! Pusing him will most likely result in a power struggle. Also have you considered that he just may not be ready to learn such things? And when you push him he will lose interest in ever learning them. No one, including babies, responds well to continued failure.

He's certainly not developmentally behind. He will learn colors, shapes, counting, etc. by watching TV kids shows, you reading to him, and by interaction with his brothers. Two year olds brains are not ready for academic style learning. They learn by watching and hearing and with lots of praise and no pressure.



answers from Spokane on

Have you tried different ways of teaching him?? You can do hands on like food coloring in the water, sand play, floam, playdoh. Make it messy and see if he has interest in that.....painting is a good way. You can paint a square, have him paint a square.....



answers from Portland on

I wouldn't sweat it. He's probably got other things he's working on. Like motor skill type of stuff. He'll pick it up when he's ready. All kids are different. Try to find the things he's interested in and focus on those. Also, if you are worried about these things make sure you read to him (as much as he will allow) color & draw with him. These activities will help encourage learning colors, shapes, and counting.



answers from San Diego on

I agree with the others, all children are different. And forcing him to learn these things may actually be pushing him away and making him more defiant to learn these things. he'll learn it in his own time. I'm sure he knows lots of other things! My daughter learned the names of all the animals before she knew all of her colors. she knew what an eagle looked like before she knew the color brown.



answers from Anchorage on

IMO, yes, you are wrong by pushing him. They don't need to know their shapes, colors, etc. until kindergarten, so don't rush things. Let him be a baby.

I can guarantee, he won't be entering college not certain of the difference between an octogon or a trapizoid :)



answers from Las Vegas on

Don't push just keep offering it in relation to everyday stuff. My son is the same way. He just turned 3 and all of a sudden he knows everything out of nowhere. I stopped trying to formally teach him and just started showing him everything, or saying here is your blue cup or 123 orange carrots and he picked it up. As for letters he watches letter factory and in just 2 days he could tell me what letter made what sound and math circus helped him remember what the numbers looked like as well as their value. Your 4 yo knowing all of that at 2 is amazing! He'll get it. Good luck. ~V.



answers from Sacramento on

Hello Shakura,
My name is Y. and I also have 3 Children I understand far to well what you are experiancing. I just kept working at it. I made a game out of it...I refered to everything by color and shape. They do catch on. I dont much see it as you being pushy, I see it as a blocking mommy out. when I do green beans I put like 6-8 on the plate and say one green bean ect then I would eat one and say "oh my goodness I ate one green bean, look at what mommy did" It seemed to strike an interest. I hope this helps a little



answers from Medford on

Hi Shakura,

As a teacher I can tell you that every child has their own pace. Your 2-year old will come along when ready, but in the meantime continue to interact and offer such lessons - just don't push them or the child may reject it all together. Take care.



answers from Eugene on

I don't think you are. My son is also 2. He is very smart. He counts to 13, he knows his colors & shapes. He can dress himself & says 5 word sentances. Quit honestley, my husband and I havn't done much. We talk to him like an adult (not baby talk). We don't put away his meal dishs. He picks up his own toys. I owe a lot of his mental growth to the doodlebps, backyardigans, Dora & go, Diego go!...My husband and I both worked fulltime jobs (I have been a at home mom for 2 months now.) he learned a lot on his own. Does that make me a bad mom; NO!, just like it don't make you a bad mom. I am sure your son is very smart. I have a question for you. Would you want to grow up if you had a mom,dad and 2 brothers who idalised you and done everything for you? I wouldn't...Goood luck, I am sure everything will be fine.



answers from Portland on

Don't worry! All children learn differently. My 11 yr old daughter taught herself to count, colors and ABC"S by the age of 2, my son Kailen 5 had no interest and didn't even learn colors until 3, but he was incredibly interested in how things work, and since the age of 2 would watch this old house for hours! Celia is almost 2, and she has a completely different style. I find it is best to embrace what they have a natural interest in. If you force stuff on him at a young age, he won't think of learning as fun, and really that is the most important! At least IMO. Hope I helped.



answers from Las Vegas on

@ is still pretty young. Dont push him into learning he will just get frustraited and not want to learn any more. I have a 2 yr old as well and I would sit down with him and read and during the reading I would point to the colors and make it fun for him. When he didnt want to do it anymore I stopped. If you do this a little everyday he might come around and be interested in what you are doing. When ever you get a chance tell him the colors like if he is wearing a yellow shirt tell him he is wearing a yellow shirt and ask if he can say yellow. Make it as fun as possible, dont let there be any mad feelings or he will not want to do it. Good Luck and remember EVERY Child is different they learn at their own pace and comparing your children will only hurt them in the long run!


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