Numbers help us make sense of our world. Imagine having to live without numbers – we wouldn’t be able to tell time or distance, wouldn’t that be scary? As our kids are born with the innate ability to grasp the concept of numbers, all we need to do as parents is to just nurture and reinforce it.
For Children Between 1-12 Months
At such an early stage, start by singing songs to your child that have numbers incorporated to the lyrics. Some examples include nursery rhymes such as “This Old Man”, and “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe”. Additionally, you can also use number blocks to get your child to associate the number with its pronunciation. Let them hold the blocks and trace the numbers with their fingers as you recite the numbers.
For Children Between 1-3 Years
During this age period, your child may have a tendency to place a numeral with an object they just saw, but more often than not, they are labelled with the wrong number. But take these opportunities to redirect their focus and repeat the correct numbers to them. As your child reaches the age of three, he will begin to understand the concept that addition means an increase in numbers, and subtraction means a decrease in numbers.
Tips For Learning Numbers
- Make a signboard with the numbers 1 through 10 on it, and tape it to a wall where your child often plays. When your child notices a number of similar objects, you should refer to the board and say things like, “Do you have three fire trucks?” or “I can see that you have two teddy bears!” Point to the board and show your child the number you are talking about.
- When playing with your toddler, do remember to count out loud. For instance, count the steps you make when you walk towards your child or count the number of blocks while stacking them.
- When taking your toddler out on a walk, point out numbers you see and praise him when he points out a number to you.
- Similar looking numbers such as 6 and 9 may be confusing to a toddler. Emphasize on their differences such as turning them upside down and saying, “Now it’s a six,now it’s a nine!”
- Always be encouraging towards your toddler’s efforts in trying to count and recall numbers. Bear in mind that you should not be critical of mistakes because this is a new skill that your child is learning, and to master it takes practice.
Originally published in “Learning Numbers”, written by Fawwaz Baktee, in Singapore’s Child March 2012