Your toddler will reach many amazing developmental milestones during their first several years of life, but few of them are as exciting as when you see your toddler can count to 10. Granted, it won’t happen overnight and it will be the result of many different lessons and incredible patience by both mom and dad. However, it is more than worth it in the end. Today, we will talk about when you can expect your child to count to 10 and what the journey may look like to get to that point.
Key Points of Helping Toddlers Count
- Between 36 months and 4 years, most toddlers are able to count to 10.
- Integrate counting into their daily lives by counting toys, food, or dogs at the park.
- Consistency is key to teaching toddlers to count, so set a time every day to count with your toddler.
- Add math concepts like addition and subtraction when adding items or taking them away.
When Should You See Your Toddler Count to 10?
This is one of those questions that may have a different answer for every family. Some toddlers may have a natural knack for counting and be able to count from one to 10 by 2 years old. With that said, the average toddler will be able to count to 10 at some point between 36 months and 4 years old.
Remember that not every child is the same and some may not be able to count to 10 by this age while others will be able to count past 10. Though, if they get to 5 years old and beyond and cannot count to 10, then intervention may be necessary. Keep in mind that a lot of toddlers can count but they may not completely understand exactly what they are really doing just yet, and that will come with time and further education.
How Parents Can Improve Their Toddler’s Counting Skills
While some kids are able to count to 10 by the time they are 2, it's not typical for all kids. Around this age is when they will begin to understand the lessons that you teach them about counting. If your child has not reached this milestone yet and you want to see your toddler count to 10, then you can try to help them along. Use these tips to encourage their interest and help them learn more effectively:
If you want to teach your toddler to count to 10, you will need to be consistent with your studies. Set a time every day when you count for them so they can hear the cadence and get the flow into their mind. Make sure to do this every day as repetition is key. Say each number and then have your toddler repeat it back, and over time, they will remember.
Count the Items Around Them
A great way to help your child along is to count everything all of the time. You can count how many snacks you give them each day, every cracker in the snack bag, or the number of toys that they have spread around them. If they are playing with shapes, then count how many of each shape they have and then count how many there are in total. Make it fun, and it will be easier for your toddler to remember.
Read a Book and Count Items
While you are reading your toddler their favorite book, you can also teach them about numbers. There is bound to be something to count on every page. You can count the number of animals, objects, or characters in the pictures. Encourage your child to count along with you to make it a more interactive experience.
Count Every Step Up and Down the Stairs
If you have more than one floor in your home, then make it a habit to count every step that you take up and down the stairs. Most houses will have at least 10 stairs, so this is a great way to help them reach this milestone and get activity and exercise at the same time! To make it even more engaging, turn it into a game. Challenge your child to see how quickly they can count all the stairs.
Take a Walk and Count the Items You See
Another fun way to learn numbers is to take a walk outside and count things as you both see them. Count the cars that you see, houses that you pass, dogs in the park, mailboxes, and everything else you see. Have your child participate by asking them to point out the objects and count them with you. Not only will they learn counting skills, but it also helps them to connect with the world around them.
Eat and Count
While your toddler is sitting at the table picking at their food, you can teach them how to count. Simply count how many orange slices, chicken nuggets, or animal crackers they have on their plate.
You can also use this time to teach them about subtraction. Count how many there are in total, and every time they eat one, count again so they can see that the total is reducing each time. If you add more food to their plate, count again and you’ll be teaching them addition!
Count While Playing With Stickers
Many toddlers love playing with stickers, and you can use this as another opportunity to practice their counting skills. Kids can spend hours putting stickers on a single piece of construction paper, so every time they do, help them to count each one as they put them down. You can also teach them basic math concepts with stickers. For instance, ask your child to add up the number of stickers that they placed on the paper.
Count Legos or Blocks as They Build a Tower
Another way to help your toddler count to 10 is to make a tower out of blocks and count how many they used. You can add an extra challenge to the activity by encouraging your child to see how high they can build the tower. If there are more than 10 blocks, then that is great. Counting higher will give them a preview of what comes next. You can also do this activity by stacking and counting cups.
Play With Shapes and Count
Kids love to play with their shapes, and this is a great way to teach them how to count as well. The easiest way to do that is to count the sides of every shape. So, you would count the four sides of a square, the three sides of a triangle, etc. Since shapes are a major part of geometry, this activity will preview some of the math concepts they will learn in the future.
Red Flags That Your Toddler May Have Issues With Counting
By the age of 4, most toddlers should be able to count to 10. If they are unable to do so, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that something is wrong. However, you should be aware of the potential red flags of a learning disability. Some of these indicators may include:
- Difficulty learning to read
- Poor concentration
- Difficulty following directions
- Trouble learning other concepts, like days of the week, colors, and shapes
- Delayed speech
If you notice one or several of these issues, then you may want to bring your child to see a professional to have them evaluated for a potential learning disability. Many states require that children with learning disabilities receive free services, so if they are having trouble counting at this point, then look at your opinions. Remember, early intervention is key when it comes to learning disabilities. So it's important to seek help if you have concerns,
In summary, your toddler should be able to count to 10 by 36 months, or at the latest 4 years old. The various strategies listed can help you in supporting your child's learning. Remember that every child develops at their own pace, so don't be overly concerned if your child takes a little longer to achieve this milestone. With patience and persistence, you will find that your child will start counting sooner than you think.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock.com.