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gretch
gretch asks:
Q:

At what age do toddlers acquire retention of learning?

I was just curious if anyone knew at what age toddlers acquire retention? While visiting my mother recently she was constantly scolding my 3 year old to not touch the "antique" screen door. He kept doing it, over and over, and she kept telling him it was an antique. I thought to myself, he doesn't have the ability to look at the door, say to himself, "oh yeah, that's an antique and I'm not supposed to touch it!" My mother insisted that he had retention and I disagree. It created tension. Any help would help!!!
In Topics: Cognitive development
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Jul 27, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hello Gretch,

 I know it is difficult because you are caught in the middle of your mother and your son. The way you were parented is possibly not the same mode that you wish to employ on your son right now.  I hope that my answer will help you with compromise.

First, know that children at the age of three need to have a few more explanations that 'Don't touch and it is an Antique". They are concrete learners and simple explanations can be helpful but the terms used must be developmentally accurate.  Antique is not a word in most three year old's vocabulary.  OLD is much better but then a child may think that something that is OLD is not of value (such as an old and torn sock).  So, perhaps you can use terms such as "This was a gift,  Grandma has a special door that is very pretty and can break easily, etc."  These are words that most three year olds' comprehend and retain.  So, in essence your child has retained a lot of information, but at his level of understanding.  (If you want to introduce the word ANTIQUE you must associate it with another known concept, such as OLD.)

You may wish to explain to your child when you first arrive at Grandma's house that a few things can break easily and make Grandma sad.  Go around her house and use the words that are more pro-active such as "This couch and chair is good to touch,  These pillows are fine, You can play in this drawer with Tupperware because they won't break."  When you arrive at the breakables then say something like "Uh -Oh these are not good to touch.  They can break.  When something breaks it will make people sad.  Please, don't touch. "  

Now here is the important part.  When you spot your son playing with "child approved" materials then give him much praise and even a reward.  (Such as helping to "cook")

When your son goes towards the "no zone" , such as the antique door, gently remind him that this is a "no touch, easy to break" item.  The use of the phrase in sign language for "DON'T TOUCH" can be useful because it is similar to an umpire saying SAFE.  The visual and verbal cues should help to reinforce this preschooler about safety issues and make all happier.

As for your mother, perhaps she can have a toy box of novel items that are not from  your home available.  Thus, he will be happy to always visit Grandma and her box of fun toys (blocks, legos, books, small figurines that are safe for his age, etc.) that are special for only visits.  This box of toys also may decrease on negative behaviors.

Good luck!

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families
http://www.SigningFamiles.com

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Additional Answers (5)

KidAngel
KidAngel writes:
Hi Gretch,
I can give you an answer from an educational perspective. Reading comprehension (understanding what one reads) is first taught in the first grade. The student is generally 5 or 6 years of age. Comprehension and retention skills are in the same bag. Comprehension and or retention skills will vary per student. However at age 3, I would say that all your 3 year old understands is "why is that lady mad at me"? I said that for a little levity to your situation. I'm sure your 3 year old has no clue what is up with Grandma. He's only 3 years out of the womb for goodness sake. I hope I've helped out. Please show this to Grandma. Patience Grandma!!

Barbara Antinoro
Educational Counselor
Kid Angel Foundation
Education.com Team
> 60 days ago

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JeanneBrockmyer
JeanneBrock... writes:
I agree with Barbara's thoughts.  And, he certainly doesn't know what an antique is and why it shouldn't be touched.  A couple other ideas: Your 3 year old, like most children, may be wanting more attention and is certainly getting it whenever he touches the screen door! Might be worth making sure that your child has developmentally appropriate activities at your mother's house--you may need to bring some of his toys or let him play with her plasticware or pots and pans.

Regards, Dr. Jeanne Funk  
education.com clinical psychology expert
> 60 days ago

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LaTricia
LaTricia writes:
I would like to know if preschool is mandatory. I'm trying to find out before my son has to start. I live in Arkansas and I don't really want to send him to preschool but if I absolutely have to I will. I'd like to know ahead of time.
> 60 days ago

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KidAngel
KidAngel writes:
Hi LaTricia,
In some parts of Arkansas it is mandatory. They started to implement that program in 2002. I do not know where you live in Arkansas So, my advice to you would be to call the School District in which you son would be starting school in. The District Office can let you know if their District is on mandatory preschool or not. Preschool can be very beneficial to most children. It gives them a leg up for first grade. Studies have shown that in general children that have attended a preschool have an easier time when they start first grade. Best to you!


Barbara Antinoro
Educational Conselor
Kid Angel Foundation
Education.com Team
> 60 days ago

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Janice73
Janice73 writes:
I would make it a game. Something just between you and him.  You know your child and will figure out how to handle it; however, your wonderful child who is only 3 years and might not get what he is being told. Suggestion:  Ask him if he knows where his grandmother's very very special door is in her home.    If he answers or does not answer, tell him that his grandmother has a very special door and she does not like people to touch it, not even you.  If he does not understand and insists on touching that special door and you do not want him or you to feel the tension, perhaps grandmother will need to visit with him away from her home.  (Is this a door that you enter and exit from?) If so, maybe grandmother needs to open and close it for you when you use it.  Not scarcastically, just to set an example or to be sure he understands. You can tell your mom what you are trying to do here.
> 60 days ago

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