Monday, November 1, 2010

Hints and Tips for Teaching Twos and Threes

Teaching twos and threes can be a challenge. They can be cute as a button one minute and strong-willed and defiant the next. Some days can be simply exhausting trying to get them to focus their attention on God and His Word. But the next minute, your little ones can come up with the most insightful prayer or comment about God. What a huge blessing! Here are some hints and tips to help you face those challenges and to equip you to watch for the blessings. More hints and tips for teaching this age group are on our website,

Spiritual Building Blocks
Twos and threes are laying a foundation for future spiritual development. One basic foundation block for every child is learning the difference between right and wrong. Teach them that some things are always right and some things are always wrong. But remember when correcting a child, two-year-olds (and younger threes) respond better to distraction than to reasoning. Be sure to get the child's attention before speaking. Adults often waste breath, saying things when no one is listening. For instance, shouting across the room to a child simply results in confusion rather than communication.

Say the most important words first. Begin with the child's name, then state briefly what action you want the child to do. Finally, add a reason why: "[Timmy], you can feed the birds now. I think they are hungry." Phrase suggestions, directives, and corrections in positive terms: "[Janna], blocks are for building, not for throwing."

Use specific words. General terms leave a child confused. Rather than, "Put the toys away," say, "[Evan], your red truck needs to go here on the shelf." Make a clear distinction between when a child has a choice and when he does not. Ask a question wen you are willing to let the child have a choice: "[Molly], would you rather look at a book or do a puzzle?" Use questions that focus the child's attention on the situation but leave him free to determine the action: "[Elliott], it is time for our snack. What do you need to do with your ball?" 

When his obedience is necessary, make a direct statement (do not ask a question), assuming cooperation. A statement such as, "[Elliott], you need to put away your truck," lets Elliott know you mean business. Be alert and sensitive to each child. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.

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