My son doesn't want to learn his ABC's or count, or read books!

Miranda - posted on 02/27/2011 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My son just turned 2, he is smart, and has a good vocabulary. He has some shape recognition, and knows a few colors by looking at them. But he won't just sit down and and let me read to him (he will every once and a while...). He doesn't like it when I ask him to sing ABC's or to count, to try and teach him. I tried flash cards, and the Preschool Prep videos, and just sitting down and writing them and going over them with him. But he just won't do it! Any suggestions?

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Eva - posted on 11/23/2011

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Many also are sitting and listening and enjoy reading but then later give it up. This is a case with my son. He is 4 now goes to JK and absolutely doesn't want to read, write or learn anything. This is a boy who by the age of two knew fonetics and alphabet, had huge vocabulary, recognized and named all the colors, and counted to 20 and started to recognize/read whole words from memory. Now I need to seek help somewhere for I am not able to get anything done with him and he didn't progress since the age of 2.

Renae - posted on 03/05/2011

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Lots of kids aren't interesting in sitting and reading books up until they are about 4. Your son is not doing anything abnormal. Just remember that the most important learning and developing he is doing at this age are things like problem solving, conceptual understanding of cause and effect (how things work), physical abilities (climbing, jumping, balancing), improving vocabulary and use of language... and many other things. Counting and alphabet are really quite minor things to be learning right now. Babies and toddlers are automatically interested in the things that stimulate the part of the brain that is currently developing. So the best thing we can do for them is provide lots of opportunities for stimulation from whatever sorts of things they currently find most interesting, which really means to just follow their lead.

Alison - posted on 02/28/2011

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Wow... RELAX!!! If he was 4-5, I would suggest you see a specialist, but he is TWO!

I'm guessing he is at home with you and not in daycare... daycares use things like songs and games to help children learn. Flashcards are not appealing to most. Closer to age 3, he can start using the computer and there is tonnes of stuff there. Also, if you can find any organized playgroups, or a part time daycare, children learn a lot in group settings.

But most importantly, let him be a 2-year-old.

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Honestly, give the kid a break! He is 2!! What on earth do you expect, for him to be @ university by the age of 5? Make life easy on him (and yourself) and let him do it in his own time - leave things around for him to look at in his own time. Don't be so totally unrealistic - it is simply not fair & not great parenting :)

Janet - posted on 03/01/2011

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Read to him, even if he's not sitting still. Turn off the TV or anything else that will catch his attention soundwise and just read. Let him play around you, but still in the same room. Try to get him to love stories and the reading will come in time. Some kids don't like being told to memorize things. Besides, kids like to do what we do and seeing you read may help him to want to do the same.

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Susan - posted on 04/03/2013

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I had the same problem so I got really creative and created Alpha Cards: ABC flashcards especially for boys (girls like them too). They have just the right amount of gross mixed with a ton of funny. They made all the difference in helping my son in learning, recognizing and remembering his ABC's. You can check them out at he-is-all-boy.com

Jeannette - posted on 11/23/2011

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OP - some kids do not like to learn the way others do. So while it was quite easy for me to get both of my creative and artistic daughters to grab a pencil and start writing, or even learn all their colors, not so with my son.
His learning style was different entirely, so I could not make him sit and write, nor would he sing with me. However, he did not mind if I sang to him. He would let me read to him for 1-2 minutes at a time and I took it! A whole book? When he was about 4 or 5 he loved this one Halloween book that I could read over and over, other than that, it was going to be a problem. Relax mom, he is probably going to be just fine. :)

Phoebe - posted on 03/03/2011

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Your son looks so cute! Kids are different from each other. Some learn in sit down activities but others don't. It doesn't mean they don't learn. Your son is in an exploration stage. Give him time to adjust to what you want him to do. Just keep on giving him the activities/ things you want him to learn. You will see that in the coming days he will try to cooperate once in a while. Then later the duration of his focus will gradually increase.

Treva - posted on 03/03/2011

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Forgot to mention that if you can find a My First Leap Pad and the book/cartridge to go with it called Once Upon a Rhyme, you will be set! It's age appropriate for a two-year old, fun and interactive. Or there are nursery rhyme books that come with CD's. Following along in the book while singing along to CD works for learning to read. I believe things things helped my girls to become early readers. they were reading by the time they turned three. There are so many good reasons to have a literate three-year-old. Just think, you really don't have to read to them anymore once they can read to themselves! Lastly, I highly recommend a book called How to Teach Your Baby to Read (which is not related to the infomercial). It will give you some good tips. It proposes that you should start by teaching words rather than alphabet because that will make more sense to little kids. I agree.

Melissa - posted on 03/03/2011

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I'm a teacher and I say it's too soon for the alphabet. I agree with Alison above...just relax. Exposing him to letters and reading stories is great for now. But he's not ready to have the whole alphabet mastered. You could start with handing him blocks or other items with letters on it and just say the name of the letter and maybe the sound it makes. At first he's not going to repeat it back to you, but if you keep mentioning letters and their sounds during playtime with him it starts to sink in. Theres some toys out there like Leap Frog that will also introduce him to letters. Also, some stories are just too long for toddlers. It's ok if you only get to read a page or two for now. Sometimes you can just look at the pictures with him and talk about them. You can even change the words to the stories so they are easier words for him to understand. Songs are good too. Remember at this stage of his life you want things like the alphabet, reading ,and counting to be part of playtime and fun. This introduces reading and makes reading a pleasant time rather than a time of struggling to get something he's just not ready for.

Laura - posted on 03/03/2011

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My daughter, who's two and a half, is sitting on the couch behind me reading to herself. She has a remarkable vocabulary (has been speaking in full, coherent sentences for 6 months). Most people when they meet her actually think she's just a small 4-5 year old, as she has the same proportions!

I just sang silly songs to her all the time while we were playing. What I found helps the most is finding books with her favorite characters. She adores Winnie the Pooh. She also loves Choo Choo Soul (tv show/music. kids can sing/clap/dance along and it's all really bouncy)

Don't push him tho. All kids learn at different paces.

Marilou - posted on 03/02/2011

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Kids at that age are too playful and he's too young to be insisted to learn such things.. Hence, they are still inattentive because they have short span of thinking and attention. Preferrably, let him do what he likes to with your guidance. There will come a time that he will show his interest to learn.. Before getting to bed, story telling will do and teach him how to pray.

Peggy - posted on 03/01/2011

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Is there a library nearby that has a toddler story time? I find it great to have my kid with others listening together. Of course some don't listen and play or wander, but it may help your son to see other kids enjoying stories to begin to sit and listen himself. I agree with other posts here and just incorporate letters and numbers in with play and he'll start picking it up without realizing it.

Treva - posted on 02/28/2011

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make it fun! act more excited about this than he has ever seen you before! cheer him and give hugs and tickles when he gets an answer right!

when my twins were two, i made huge flash cards. we did this after they ate while they were still captive in their chairs. I made "Learning Words" seem like the most fun idea ever! You can also try CD's to play at bedtime when he's going to sleep, it will sink in through his subconscious, kind of like brainwashing! He might be too young for writing... For reading, i gave them a big sippy cup of hot Ovaltine or Milo or Horlicks (or whatever he likes) to sip on while i read them the book. You can get him to understand that he only gets his hot cocoa if he sits down and is still.

Maria - posted on 02/28/2011

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Me and the daycare lady taught my daughter well for that fact all the kids in daycare watched Veggie Tales it's a great cartoon that teaches the children and yoiu will probably find your son singing the song all the time it is christian based so if your not into the Lord then this probably won't for you, but I will tell you this we had great success out of Veggie Tales.

Sylvia - posted on 02/27/2011

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Will he let you read to him while he's doing something else (playing, sitting in the bath, eating)? If so, do that.

Count things as they occur to you (when you're grocery shopping, cooking, folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher...) -- as if it's just a normal thing to do. don't make it a chore that he has to perform, or a separate activity.

Forget the rest of it. He's 2. He doesn't need to know his letters yet. He doesn't need flashcards or videos. It will come with time. And trust me, you do NOT want a literate three-year-old! Once they can read, they can read *everything* -- including the condom ads on the bus, the dessert menu at a restaurant, and the titles of all the books on your bookshelves, some of which are just not appropriate :P

Amy - posted on 02/27/2011

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I agree with Rachel don't push it, if you do you could end up with a child who is really going to dislike learning. Change the bedtime routine so that he gets one or two stories while laying in bed, start with short stories so that you are able to keep his attention and gradually increase the lengths. Don't be surprised if you find one he really likes and read it over and over again, babies like repitition and rhyme.
Buy the old wooden blocks with the letters and numbers on them and incorporate those into play but again keep it fun. Build a tower with him and count how many blocks you are using and them try to build your next tower higher. Those same blocks have letters on them so you can spell out his name or have him come up with the words he wants you to write and just say each letter as you put them down. Remember Harvard isn't going to care when he learned his alphabet it's going to be how you keep him interested throughout his childhood that's going to be important.

Rachel - posted on 02/27/2011

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Give him time. he just turned 2. you can have him repeat after you the numbers and letters. just let him be a kid. read to him before he goes to bed at night so he gets used to it. good luck but dont push too hard or you will make him not want to do it

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