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Teaching Your Merrybegot

The Top 10 Ways to Jump-Start Your Toddler's Education

Toddlers have a greater ability to acquire new skills and information than children who are 5, 6, or 7 years old. Research indicates that introducing reading, language, and math skills in the toddler years may make school success come more easily to your child for years to come.

1. "Narrate" your child's activities so that they will know that they have your focused attention. This will support them in language and thinking development.

2. Choose children's books with large print words and extremely clear pictures.This will help your child to understand what they are seeing and to learn to read words. Many children's books have very small words and very complicated pictures.

3. Purchase foreign language cassettes and videos. It is much easier for toddlers to pick up other languages at this age than it will be later on.

4. Purchase computer software for toddlers. The software will often employ keyboard skills, since it is difficult for many children to use a mouse before the age of two and a half.

5. Buy alphabet letters for bathtub use and make a new word every time your child is in the bathtub. Your child will begin to make the connection between spoken and written language.

6. Use repetition. Some parents get frustrated when a child wants a book read three times in a row, but this is an essential part of how children process information.

7. Buy alphabet magnet letters to play with on the refrigerator. Spell out new words for your child every week.

8. Read to your child every day. Read with emotional expression, as if you were in a dramatic play.

9. Remember that your child's physical education is directly linked to his academic education. Research shows that brain development is directly linked to physical activity, such as crawling before the age of one. If you and your toddler engage frequently in different kinds of physical activities, this may enhance brain development. Examples: galloping, running, rolling, wheelbarrow, etc.

10. Call the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential at (800) 344-MOTHER to purchase early learning materials. They sell books, videos, cassettes, and learning materials to teach your toddler how to read, how to do math, and how to gain encyclopedic knowledge.

Written by Dr. Clare Albright, Psychologist and Parenting Coach. Excerpted from her booklet, "100 Tips for Parents Of Two Year Olds", which can be purchased for $5.77 at

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