March 11, 2013 by mamacravings
Over the past few months, I have had several friends and family ask me how I was able to teach my 2 year-old son how to write his letters. Here are 4 tips that help me to guide my son in mastering writing his name:
1. Model it.
Modeling is key in teaching.
Writing has always been a big part of my life. I am forever scribbling in journals and furiously clacking away in front of a computer screen. Whether it has been for research or for fun, little Eli has observed this. He was very small when he first asked for “work”. I set up a desk for him, and he happily experimented with lines, shapes and color.
The more I would write, the more he desired to do the same.
2. Saturate your environment.
If you are focusing on letters, writing, phonics, sight reading or any other academic concept, saturate your environment. Use Play-Doh to shape words. Write in shaving cream. Cover the sidewalk in chalk drawn letters. Download some apps.
One of my very favorite apps for reading is “Endless Alphabet”. It’s a free app that explores the shapes of letters through puzzles and the sounds they make through silly noises. My son adores this app and is starting to sight read many of the words. His favorites are “odor” and “multiply”.
Don’t limit yourself to learning at home. Street signs, restaurants, grocery stores are inundated with eye-catching signs ready for reading. Being able to recognize letters is a huge step in being able to recall the letters to write.
3. Let him take the lead.
I followed unschooling philosophies through the process of teaching my toddler to write. Children are natural learners. They are naturally inquisitive and naturally hands-on. With writing, as with other concepts, I introduced the idea of writing. It was introduced through the above methods. Then I stepped back. I waited for his reaction. Soon he was asking me to show him different letters and to help him write. We continued to learn through play and through exposure from real world examples (i.e. the grocery store) and through reading together. He practiced on his Leap Pad 2. As I have let him take the lead, I am continually surprised at how quickly he is learning to write different letters. I am not sure how many he is up to now, easily half of the alphabet.
4. Drop the comparisons
As a teacher and a highly competitive person, I have a tendency to get comparative. It’s easy to say to another mama, “How many letters can your toddler write?” and to get self-righteous or self-loathing as comparisons are made. The truth is: It doesn’t matter if your toddler can write every letter of the alphabet or not any at all.
A passion for learning should be the academic goal of parents for their children. If your little one loves to learn, then he/she will seek it out. However, if the learning environment is anxiety based, then he/she will withdraw.
My greatest hang-up when I am teaching my own child is pushing my timeline on him.
Learning is fun; treat it as such. And it won’t be long before your little one begins to flourish as reader and writer.