22 August 2017
Many people are curious about what they should be teaching their toddler at each age interval. Toddlers in the 18- to 24-months range are a lot of fun and easy to teach! What they should be learning most can be found in all the teachable moments found throughout the day in just normal life with you.
Toddlers love to be with their parents. They love learning to help and be involved in the household, your life, and the world around them. The best thing you can do to help teach your child things at this age is to enjoy being with them, and just keep sharing and exploring the world with them.
Talking to them throughout the day is especially important. They may not be able to converse back with you yet, but they understand so much more than they can say. Explain and name all the things you’re doing as you go through your daily routine. If you’re putting laundry in the laundry machine, tell your child, “I’m putting laundry in the laundry machine,” etc. They will pick up on what these things mean and start to be able to mimic what you’re doing if you give them verbal instructions.
By 18 months old, you’ve probably found that they’re able to follow simple and even increasingly complex directions or games that you give them. If you just naturally involve them in your activities, they can learn even more, and even start to help out a bit!
Additionally, toddlers often enjoy certain things in batches. If you find that your child is taking an interest in music, indulge that new interest and explore it with him from lots of different angles. You can sing songs to him and play songs on the radio one day. The next day you could make a makeshift instrument out of pots and pans or things that can make a shaker, or play him a real instrument if you have one, show him how to play something simple like the xylophone or a recorder, etc. Another day you could go to a concert in the park, or something of the like. You can read books and stories about music. Or watch a tv show or movie specifically about music, or play a game. Get creative and find all the different angles you can share more about whatever is interesting them.
You can also incorporate life changes in a similar way – if you want to get a small pet for the family, like a fish, you can similarly read books about fish, do fish art, visit the aquarium, do a fish puzzle, cut out fish and fish-related shapes for a storyboard, make fish faces at each other at dinnertime, watch a fish movie (Finding Nemo is always a favorite, of course!), etc., and then follow it all up with the big climax: buying your fish at the pet store and bringing him home!
Teachable moments exist everywhere in everything for an 18-24-month-old. Get as engaged with them as you can, and have fun with it!