Get a letter puzzle
This is so your baby can hold the letters. These physical shapes in hand are much more interesting to babies than print on paper. Also, each day, try to use the letters as toys that you move around and play with and tell stories with. This will make the letters much more enjoyable and memorable. Start using M for Mama and P for Papa.
Every letter echos an important thing for baby
Every letter gets associated with the real or made-up name of something that is either much liked by baby, or something important to baby.
A = Ah-ah (hello)
B = Bath
C = Cake (sweet baked things)
D = Do, Drr-Drr (car/trip)
E = Eat
F = Food
G = Good
H = Hug
I = Ice cream
J = Juice
K = Kookoo (peekaboo)
L = Love
M = Mama
N = No
O = Oma
P = Papa
Q = Question
R = Run, go fast
S = Sweet,
T = Ta-ta, grandfather
U = Uppies and Um (feeding)
W = Woo-woo (toy animal)
X = Eks, location
y = yum
Z = Zebra
Baby hears and sees all the letters a few times each day. Also every letter gets associated with a thing that is talked about repeatedly every day in baby’s life.
Call it “playing letters” so it is perceived as more of a fun game. And make it an opportunity to earn some scarce and precious sweets. The game is that the parent holds up letters and baby says what the letters are. If baby guesses correctly, then baby gets a cheer. Yay!
Then shorten the words
With playing letters, you want to first make each wooden letter synonymous with the word for the thing. Then you start saying calling Ice cream as “I” and Mama as “M”, and Good as “G” and “J”, and Yum as “Y” and “E” and “I”. So once you have taught all the letters as words, you want to cut the words down so they are only the letter sounds. Then the letter is tied to the sound.
Letters called by their sounds
I think the ABC song is bad. I think we should teach the names of the letters later because they are confusing. Our objective here is to teach early reading. So instead of calling a W as “Double-u”, instead it should be taught by its sound “W”. And instead of “Tee”, we should teach “T”. We don’t want any more confusion than necessary.
Only capital letters
Only use capital letters. Lowercase letters not only amount to a bunch more characters to remember and recognize, but they also have those famously confusing letters bB, dD, pP, qQ. So only use capital letters to teach early reading. This is how we bypass most problems with b, and d. We do this by using B and D. Then once the kid is reading, context and familiarity will eliminate much of the problem.
I use sweets and ice cream as my main motivator. To increase effectiveness, I also reduce sugar intake overall (including juice, fruit and all sweets). Then the sweets become an powerful motivator for getting 2 and 3 year olds to participate. The after school rush is the best time. This is a bit late in the day, so for most of the day you can threaten to withhold the precious ice cream if your kid doesn’t do their reading. Remember, you set the bare minimum for attention and behavior by withholding the ice cream once or twice. Also going during the rush creates a sense that all the other kids have also done their reading and now are getting their ice cream.
Reading and ice cream
“Reading and ice cream” is the name of the game. But don’t give a whole scoop of ice cream daily to a 15kg baby. Aim for about half a scoop a day, with a tiny amount of sprinkles for extra credit. “Want to do a little more to get sprinkles.” This helps get the kid habituated to putting in a bit more effort.
Try to pick early reading words that interest the kid. Interesting words motivate more than long words are difficult. You will get much more engagement if you are talking about chocolate, or jumping, or dinosaurs than shorter but less interesting words.
Text full screen
Download a Text Full Screen app and start showing your child their flash card words on the app. Start with 5 simple words: MOM, DAD, DOG, CAT, TOY etc. Then increase the number of words.
Reading while paused from a walk seems to work best. It is easier to move on and distract in this way. Thus you can get the kid to do words more often. Also, it doesn’t hurt for the daily process of reading to be tied with exploration and a fun walk.
Many short sessions
With 3 year olds, short learning sessions is all you can get. So the first lessons need to be short and many. My advice is to try once or twice to lengthen the reading session (which we can’t control), and instead focus on starting over a few minutes later (something we can control).
A reward at the end of the day
You can hand out sweets during the day, but these should be much smaller in total than the big late afternoon payout. This will drive the kid into wanting to wait for the big daily payout, and working diligently all day to get it. Thus you create the habits of hard work and patience. Also, the trip for ice cream makes the reward seem more rewarding, while keeping the value of sugar high.
Listen to audio-only stories together and explain how you visualize the story in places familiar to the kid. Do this many times so the kid gets habituated to imagining stories in familiar places. Then show the kid lots of media to imagine stories in. Essentially, you want to help them to develop their visualization skills with audio books while they are learning to read individual words as flash cards.
Keep reading fun
You are doing all this so reading is effortless and enjoyable once the kid starts reading books. This way, hopefully, reading will beat the media-console. (You might also help this process along by reducing media time and increasing “ice-cream related activities”.)
Mothers and eggs
1/ Cholesterol is a necessary component of most hormones and brain chemicals including serotonin, dopamine, and the reproductive hormones.
2/ Some depression can be caused by low cholesterol. So if you have postpartum depression, you might want to try having an egg with each meal for a few days.
3/ You might also want to eat eggs daily while you are pregnant to help assure that both of you always have sufficient hormones and brain chemicals.
4/ Cholesterol help reduce meltdowns. However, be sure not to give your kid too much egg. Remember that for a person 1/6th of adult size, 1/3 of an egg yolk = 2 eggs for an adult.
Magnesium deficiency is common
Not only do we need vitamin D to metabolize calcium, we also need magnesium. The thing is that active brains can burn lots of magnesium. So some active-minded kids grow up thin boned because they don’t get enough magnesium. Also, metabolized calcium is calming, so you may notice a difference.
1/ For early walking, it is best to put the kid in a harness so falling doesn’t hurt. This way, the process of exploration gets established with less pain and downside. This will make your kid a bit more adventurous.
2/ Put your harnessed toddler in front of things they want to touch. Then you want to hold them back a bit. Let them pull away easily at first. Then later, you want to resist more until it is a situation where the kid is pulling with all his strength. This will start the development of a mental process where they try real hard to get things.
From day one, I took my child around the apartment and showed her interesting new things every day, new pictures, new animation, new places. This was called Uppies. I would say: “Let’s go for uppies”. “Check this out”. “What is that?” “What do you want to see?” . “Want to go there?”… Just remember that the things you show a baby need to be near to the baby, maybe 60cm. Otherwise they are blurry. Also try to get in the habit of describing things to baby as you see new things.
To help your child to have a longer neck and straighter back, you might want to wait extra long before letting your child remain in an unsupported upright position. From day-1 pick up and show your kid around their environment to develop their brain. But be a few weeks slow in allowing baby remain in an unsupported upright position, as this weight on a young and pliant spine produces obvious lifelong effects in a great many people.
Words from the first day
We played Hello/byebye and Peekaboo from Day 1 to stimulate the mind and connect words to fun from an early age. We also said “um” for all feedings. All this helps to develop the verbal mind earlier and better. Also, from day one, talk to your newborn constantly, even if you don’t get a spoken response.
Go through the entire alphabet of wooden letters randomly for baby a few times each day making the sound for each letter. Show the letters to baby, but up close so baby can see them. Baby’s will pay more attention to the letters if you move them. Moving the letters horizontally bouncing seems to hold the attention well, but other sorts of movement are also useful. Baby is just seeing the M and hearing mama and “look, its mama there” many times here. Baby is also just seeing the P and hearing papa many times, and so forth.
Repeat the sounds for each letter a few times. Do all this from the beginning with fun and infectious energy so that reading and working to understand letters is a pleasure and not a chore. Very important, try to make it fun from the start.
Before baby can talk, baby can recognize letters. So the first task for baby is to find the Mama letter when it is mixed with the papa letter, and then to find the I for ice cream letter when it is added. You will soon have more than 4 letters for baby to recognize. When this is the case, you want to only present baby with 3-5 letters. This makes the game less work and more rewarding and keeps baby more interested. Basically for toddlers, you want the easiest most rewarding games possible.
Once baby starts speaking, you can hold up the letters for your baby and baby will tell you their names. When baby gets very good with this, when baby knows nearly all of the letters immediately, then start cutting Mama down to M, and Papa down to P . Then baby will get good at saying the letters as M and P and I.
Then you start saying “Da-Oh-Ga is DOG”, pointing to each letter, and “Ka-Ah-Ta is CAT” and other simple words for things that baby is interested in. This takes a long time, but just keep saying it to baby and trying to get baby to say it back. One note: baby will learn to recognize many words long become being able to actually read them. This is OK. This is baby succeeding at reading, and growing habituated to feeling good about reading.
Don’t spell mama and papa to your baby because they are recursive and confusing.
When baby makes a mistake, your response should be like baby made a mistake in a game. No big problem. And if baby is not getting the right answers, the problem is that they are not paying attention and not focusing.
Again, it is so important that you are playing letters and playing reading. These must remain games, so that baby is more focused. Your first job is to make baby want to play letters, then your second job is 10 or 20 times easier. So give some easy ones if you see your kid getting discouraged. Also when the kid gets one right say YAAAAY! … and when it is a new one right, you should even make a bigger fuss.
You are not just starting at a really early age getting your kid to read. You are also instilling a sense of learning as fun from and early age. Also ask baby: “Did you have a good time playing reading and ice cream, but talk about how many words she did that day. This helps associate hard work with reward in the baby’s mind.
Mind your kid’s effort/reward ratio
Just pay attention to this and keep your child’s first lessons fun, so they love learning and do better in their life as a result. You also want letters and reading to be associated with getting good stuff. This is because eventually the pleasure of learning completion replaces the pleasure of ice cream.
That’s all the focus you get
I consider myself lucky to get even a few moments of full toddler attention with reading. So I push more for lots of new words partly known, instead of a few words well known.
Counting and swinging
Babies all love the sense of motion from swinging on a playground swing. Try to count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 as you pull them back and then when you reach 10 make your voice excited and say “weeee”. This is to connect numbers with fun.
This is when Mama says one, and then Papa says two, and then Mama says three, and Papa says four, etc. Then when baby encounters this, baby can take the place of either parent.
10% of Americans have diabetes and 30% are pre-diabetic. In Germany it is even worse. My thoughts on the origins (etiology) of diabetes are fully explained in the Healthcare section of this site. However a brief summary is that:
1/ It is not widely known, but fructose is metabolized by the liver like a toxin, like alcohol.
2/ Excessive fructose consumption wears out the liver, just like excessive alcohol consumption.
3/ The liver stops working properly and then glucose (from the metabolized fructose) trickles out all day, causing the insulin producing cells of the pancreas to stay on 24 hours a day and wear out. Then you have no insulin. Then you are diabetic. So for the benefit of your child’s long-term health, you might want to control their fructose intake. But everyone knows this already, if only vaguely.
Sugar and intellect
Sugar isn’t only bad for the physical health of kids, it is also bad for their minds. You see, if you give a baby/toddler all the sugar that baby wants, then baby will not be able to learn to read by age 3 or 4 and may not learn to read until the kid is 5 or 6, or 7 years old.
Sugar and character
The well sugared child is a person growing up in some ways unmotivated and lazy. Every day the kids gets all the sugar they want. Is this good for the character? Or is it better to get not-enough sugar?
Also, if you don’t give your kid much sweets without work, and there isn’t enough work, then work will seem like more of an opportunity than a chore.
I take a day or two off now and then from sweets. This will keeps the reading as an opportunity to earn some extra candy or ice cream. Also, if you let your kid cheat now and again by being very cooperative and nice, this will help them to develop skills here.