Guest Post by Becky of This Reading Mama
As you put an ABC coloring sheet in front of your preschooler, (s)he pushes it away and declares, “I don’t want to do this!” It can be extremely frustrating and perhaps embarrassing when your own child doesn’t desire to learn; especially when Suzie just announced at playgroup that her two year old knows all his colors, shapes, letters, and can count to 20!
Just like you can’t make your baby sleep, eat, or poop, you can’t force your child to learn. Trying to do so may land you on a battlefield against your own preschooler. It’s not that you want your child to be at a 2nd grade reading level in Kindergarten. You just want him/her to desire to learn. The Sneaky Chef has tricks for getting kids to eat healthy, so maybe (just maybe) you can sneak in some learning…through natural conversation and simple play. This is how both my boys learned their basic preschool skills, and my little girl is well on her way.
While your child may be turned off to anything that appears educational in nature, I haven’t met a child uninterested in natural conversation and play. Take, for instance, these wooden letter blocks: through natural conversation while playing, many concepts can be introduced and modeled.
“I’m going to build a tall tower. But I need you to help me get some of the blocks. Can you hand me that green letter B block over there? (I’m also pointing to it.) It’s beside the blue Letter L block. Let’s see how many cubes high I can go before my tower falls over.” (Count as you build.) As it falls, say, “Oh, I think I stacked that Letter G cube too far over and it fell down. Hey, do you think you can build a tower that’s taller than mine?”
In this conversation, these concepts have been modeled:
Print Awareness Vocabulary: “letter”
Letters: “B” “G” & “L”
Colors: “green” and “blue”
Positional words: “beside”
Rote Counting & One-to-One Correspondence: counting as you built
3D shapes: “cube”
Cause & Effect: “I stacked that letter G cube too far over and it fell down”
Fine Motor: stacking the blocks
Notice that this conversation is not riveted with questions: What color is this? What letter? How many? What shape?—it flows naturally. These conversations can take place anywhere and can start at any age. And they work best if they stem from the child’s interests. If building towers isn’t your child’s cup of tea, pick what is. The goal is making learning meaningful to the child while modeling those basic preschool skills in a natural manner.
So, if your child doesn’t want to color that ABC sheet, it’s okay! Let him (or her) play and explore. Do it together and you may just be amazed at the things (s)he will learn naturally…without even knowing it!
Becky is a former Elementary school teacher/private reading tutor who became a homeschooling mama of three beautiful blessings (ages 6, 3, & 18 months, with one more on the way!) She blogs about their homeschooling journey atwww.thisreadingmama.com.