Should I be concerned if my son is not interested in learning?
My son is 3 1/2 and will be four in July. Developmentally Isaac seems to be on track with the milestones for his age. Isaac is a very active little boy and loves to pretend and play. I am concerned however that he shows no interest in learning anything. I try to take every teachable moment to help him learn to count and say his abc's, but he doesn't seem to remember it later. Any suggestions or words of wisdom?
Thank you for writing to JustAsk. Rest assured that your 3 1/2 year old is learning! Isaac is learning to negotiate through his day by developing small and large motor tasks when he is active and playing. He also is picking up language and social-emotional skills while associating with is peers. Learning "school basics' at three years of age are not necessary for him right now. He is still learning to take interest in basic developmental skills. However, you can help him to become interested by incorporating his gross motor skills with basic readiness skills. For example, count the number of blocks in a sidewalk. Mark them with chalk that washes away. Even show him the numbers by numbering each one. Count all kinds of things in the environment. This can be great fun when baking cookies or playing with play-do!
When you go grocery shopping give Isaac the newspaper circular and circle a few items that you wish to buy. This little "game" is helpful for building pre-reading and reading skills. Have him look for these circled items in the store by matching the picture with the item. Give him clues, such as HOT and COLD when you are close or far away from the item. Try and pick things that would be on lower shelves so he can concentrate looking at his height. When you find the correct match then show your child how you know by pointing out the letter on the packaging. Reward him by allowing him the privilege of putting the item on the conveyor belt and the check-out.
In summary, Isaac appears to be developing on target and needs a little nudge to help with pre-readiness and readiness skills.
I would suggest that you may wish to check out a kindergarten readiness book when he is 4- 4 1/2 years of age. This book is titled, "Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten" by Stacey Kannenberg (Cedar Valley Publishing). This book is interactive, fun and can be used with a dry erase marker (yes, a book that wipes clean!)
I wonder if it's how you're going about teaching him? Are you trying to teach him through song and play, like singing your abc's while playing pattycake or something? That's how I got my son to learn, I made it into a song or part of active play. He couldn't sit still, naturally, because he was so active! So we'd play and sing 1-2-3's and abc's. That worked, at least. Personally, I think if your little guy is on track and seems okay, I wouldn't worry about it. He's probably learning more than you realize and is a little sponge right now.