Anxiety  over a child’s development starts early.

Recently a mom said to me, “My son is drowning in school. Do you think he has a learning disability?”

What was particularly striking about this question was the fact that the child in question was only just five and in the first half of kindergarten.

What to do in the earliest stage of development?

The earliest stage to pay attention to related to school literally starts at birth and typically ends when the child leaves kindergarten.

What should you be thinking about as a parent of a child in this stage?

I will state it simply. – bombard the child with language.

Please don’t misinterpret that to mean to talk the kid to death, as you will start being tuned out pretty quickly with incessant eye-rolling. (Yes, eye-rolling starts early too.)

Reading bedtime stories to the toddler and preschooler, playing different games emphasizing rhymes are fun and  great for promoting parent/child bonding, while moving language along,  contributing to early reading development.

Back in the dark ages (the 1960’s) There was a song called “The Name Game,” which played with names and rhyming nonsense words to names  (“Shannon Shannon Fo Fannon, Banana Fannon Fo Fannon, Fee Fi Fo Fannon, Shannon.”)

Also from another era a seemingly forgotten author who was brilliant with language was Dr. Seuss.  Just listen to the rhymes and the rhythmic beats of, “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back,” or “One Fish Two Wish Red Fish Blue Fish,” as you read them to your child.   The rhymes and rhythm will be internalized for later use when more formal reading instruction takes place.

Takeaway Point

One can do a lot worse (in fact many do, with gluing their child’s attention to an iPad) than playing the “Name Game” over and over  or reading “The Cat in the Hat”  to your young toddler or preschooler.

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022,

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