Teaching your toddler to count will give them a huge advantage when they start developing more math skills in school. It might seem like a daunting task, but toddlers pick up counting much more quickly than you think. The trick is to help them recognize numbers, and learn how to tell them apart from one another. However, this is easier said than done. After all, 6 and 9 or 1 and 7 look relatively similar! Here are a few ways that you can help your child learn to differentiate numbers, and then how they can learn the numbers!
Teaching Your Toddler to Recognize Numbers
Like we said above, number recognition is difficult. So, practice is important, and try to make it fun! Here are a few ways that you can help your toddler recognize and differentiate numbers.
- Point out Numbers – Whenever you are reading to your child make sure you are intentional about pointing out numbers. Count the numbers on your finger, or see if your child can locate the number on the page. Eventually, they will start recognizing them and be able to point them out by themselves.
- Number Toys – Making counting fun, is a key to learning to count. So, using number toys is a no-brainer! Visualizing numbers is the only way that your child will be able able to quickly recognize and differentiate them. Bright number blocks or puzzles are the perfect way for your child to get a good understanding of the shapes and appearance of each number.
- Number Books – As we mentioned above, it is important that you help point out numbers when you read with your child, but there are also tons of books aimed at toddlers. These books are specifically for helping your toddler begin to recognize and understand numbers and counting.
Teaching Toddlers to Count
As your child starts to recognize numbers they will also begin to figure out the order that they go in. As this happens, they will go through a few stages starting as pre-counters, and finally becoming reciters.
- Pre-counters – Toddlers hit this stage when they begin to learn numbers; however, they are still unable to put them in order. For example, they might say “one, two, seven”. If you hear them counting like this, all you really need to do is model the correct order. Over time, they will learn the correct order and self-correct.
- Chanters – At this stage, toddlers are able to put the numbers in order, but it will not be easy to understand them. They run the numbers together, and if they get interrupted they have to start counting all over.
- Reciters – This is a very advanced skill that many toddlers do not quite reach. This stage is identified by their ability to recited numbers in the correct order. Counting from one to ten, for example.
The goal should be for your child to reach preschool, have a general idea of what each number looks like, and the ability to differentiate them. Once they get to preschool, we will take it from there! Heritage Learning Center has been preparing McKinney, TX children for elementary school since 1987. Our award-winning programs ensure that your child has all of the math skills they need before Kindergarten. For more information on the programs we offer or how to enroll, please contact us today!