I remember when this Luvs commercial came out and I couldn’t believe there would be moms who would actually think flash cards were an appropriate way to interact with babies and toddlers. I thought for sure this was some stretch of the truth they did to make the commercial funny.
And then we had Iddo and I found myself in online communities of moms who were asking for flash card recommendations and comparing tricks to get toddlers to sit still and pay attention to the flash cards. Apparently this craziness was an actual reality.
In true mom fashion these women were making teaching their kids harder than it needed to be and piling the guilt on themselves when reality didn’t match their fantasy.
Teaching kids is definitely important and needs to start as soon as birth (and does, whether you realize it or not), but it does not need to be complicated. In my professional opinion, and I went to school long enough to have a professional opinion on this, teaching kids is really quite simple.
Read to them every day. If it’s a book that’s 1 minute long, great. If you’re reading a longer book out loud while they run around, perfect. And let them see you interact with physical books too.
Sing to them. The rhythm and rhymes help them learn new words quickly.
Talk to them. Narrate your day. Describe what you’re seeing and doing. Ask them what they’re seeing and doing, even if they don’t have the ability to answer back yet.
Draw, color, scribble, paint with them. Until Iddo had the mental ability to understand when we told her to only color on coloring pages her crayons were something I controlled, but they came out regularly.
Play with them. Run. Jump. Climb. Spin. Build block towers and knock them down. Nobody, even adults, is meant to sit still for long. Little kids need to be moving and exploring and discovering. Someone will make them sit still for longer than they want to some day. For now, let them move.
That’s it. No flash cards required. A library card definitely comes in handy, but it doesn’t take any special skills, schedules, or big plans to teach children. The reading, singing, talking, playing, and even the coloring to some extent, all happen as they naturally come up during the day.
So put the flash cards down and stop it with the unnecessary guilt and stress. You’ve got this.