Does your child understand the significance of first and last names? Teaching kids this from an early age can prevent potential problems that they may face when they start school. Find out how to go about it.
You put in a lot of thought to come up with a unique name for your bundle of joy. But does your toddler actually understand his name, given the fact that you probably address him with a pet name? Even if you do spell out his name often, he’ll be alien to the concept of a first and last name unless you guide him.
Tips for Teaching Toddlers about First and Last Names
1. Tell Me Your Name
The first thing you need to do before teaching your little one his first and last name is to get him acquainted with them. Make sure you address him often by his real name. Introduce him to others using his name as it will help him understand that only close family members call him by pet names. Once in a while, ask him what his name is. If he finds it difficult to speak out his whole name, break it down for him.
2. Write and Show
Once your child begins to understand that his real name is different from his pet name, show him how his name is written. Use some coloured crayons and write it down in big letters on a piece of chart paper. Read it out loud. Don’t forget to point out the words as you read his name. You can also point at the names terming them as ‘first’, ‘middle’ and ‘last’ name.
3. What’s Your Name Again?
Ask your toddler to speak out his name loud and clear. Then ask him his names in random order, i.e. tell him to speak out his last name or his first name. This exercise will help him get acquainted with his name in a better way.
4. Show Me Your Name
After you’ve explained the concept of first and last name to your toddler for a few days, ask him to point them out on the chart paper. You can also call them out randomly and see if your toddler points them out correctly.
5. Flash the Name
Using flash cards is one of the best ways to teach the concept of first and last names to toddlers. Write down your child’s names on flash cards and ask him to arrange them in the correct sequence. You may have to point out the first, middle and last names a few times for him to get the hang of it. However, soon your little one will be able to arrange everything in the right sequence. You can also play a game with him and ask him to flash the relevant cards when you call out ‘first’, ‘last’ or ‘middle’.
Understanding the concept of first and last name will prove beneficial when your child starts school. It also gives him a sense of identity and helps him realise that he’s a different entity.