Reader Genya writes:
I was wondering why my 3.5 years old daughter doesn’t like to color and learn letters.
What and how should I do to encourage?
I really don’t think you have anything to worry about. Some children are simply not interested in colouring; I think they find it a little boring and pointless. There are many other creative activities that you can use to stimulate motor skills, such as play dough and painting. Cutting and gluing is also fun for the little ones (although a little messy for you!).
You could incorporate the gluing and cutting with letters. Why don’t you draw the letters, then give your daughter a pair of kid’s scissors and help her cut them out and stick them to make a colourful collage? Maybe find some magazines with pictures to cut out that go with each letter. I think she might be quite proud of her handiwork.
You could also use the alphabet fridge magnets and bath toys to encourage her along with the alphabet.
All children develop at different stages in different areas, in my experience. For example, some kids may take an early interest in arts and crafts and ABCs but struggle at first with speech and numbers. Keep encouraging your daughter’s individual interests, and she is very likely to develop the necessary skills before you know it.
I’m sure that other Nanny Godmother readers have some terrific ideas for creative activities with crafts or ABCs that have worked for their own children. Readers, let’s hear them!
Attentive grandmother Toni C. is wondering how to encourage her grandson’s speech development:
I’m trying to come up with creative ways to help my grandson speak. He was born 1.5 months early and weighed only 3.7 pounds at birth. He does everything else great! Fine motor skills, follows directions, even musical, loves to dance but he just makes non syllable words. He will be 2 years old in May, and will sometimes say “hi” or “out” to the dog, but that’s as far as it goes. Before taking him to expensive therapy, any ideas?
It sometimes happens that even children that are born full-term don’t utter their first words until they are two to three years old, without necessarily indicating any underlying problem.
Interactive reading is a great way to encourage a toddler’s speech. I find that books with animals work especially well, but any kind of reading at all is helpful.
Also try singing nursery rhymes and children’s songs (e.g. “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, and many more). Dancing and singing make it fun quality time and are also beneficial to a child’s coordination and memory as well as speech development.
When your grandson points to things, try to encourage him to say it. Give a choice: if he asks for juice, say “Which cup do you want, blue one or red one?” “Please, Grandma.” “Thank you, Grandma.” Also ask him questions which require a yes or no answer.
I wouldn’t worry too much at this stage. It sounds as though your grandson is developing at a very healthy rate.
UPDATE: Let me clarify that this is intended to answer your question about ideas on how you can help stimulate your toddler’s speech at this stage, not to dissuade you from also consulting a specialised professional about your concerns. As a reader has pointed out, depending on where you live such specialised services might be available on a publicly or privately subsidised basis.