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When Do Kids Start Singing Their ABCs?

by A. Low

It's pure parental joy when you first hear your child sing, let alone when she sings an educational classic like the ABCs. Learning to sing the ABCs requires two distinct skills: the ability to pick out and imitate individual notes and the ability to recite the alphabet. According to BabyCenter and WhatToExpect.com, children will start to sing around age 2 and recite the whole alphabet closer to preschool age. But it also depends on you -- a child who is exposed to song and the alphabet early on may have more of an interest in singing the ABCs than other children.

Learning to Sing

Before the age of 2 some children experiment with tone and invent their own "songs." However, according to WhatToExpect.com, young toddlers aren't usually proficient at picking out individual notes in songs. To encourage an interest in music, show your child how to clang objects like blocks or rattles together. You can even invent instruments with household items: an upturned pot and a wooden spoon become a drum, or lidded cups filled with rice or beans can become maracas. Listen to a song with a simple tune and clap your hands to the beat. Your child will probably be fascinated if you dance to the beat as well, and she may try to swing her head or arms to mirror you. By the time she's 3, she may be able to hold a tune.

Learning the ABCs

After age 2, according to AskDrSears.com, children will be able to put small phrases together and begin trying to make letter sounds. However, reciting the entire alphabet is a herculean task for a toddler -- don't expect your child to be proficient at saying all 26 letters in a row until he's closer to school-age. Toys and books are a great way to help your child practice his ABCs. Ask your child to repeat back each letter in an alphabet book after you say it. Young children especially enjoy learning songs with hand motions, so make up a few of your own (clapping or waving to the beat, for example) for the ABC song and watch him imitate. You may even try incorporating alphabet sign language.

Benefits of Putting Words Into Song

Childhood singing isn't all fun and games (although it feels like it!), it's educational, too. Rhythm and rhyme make it much easier for children to retain new information, much in the same way that adults use rhymes to remember "I before E, except after C," or the poem that recites how many days are in each month. Because children learn well through repetition, focus on playing her favorite songs repeatedly; "Wheels on the Bus," "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" are all popular with toddlers.

Signs of Verbal and Social Delays

Although some children just aren't as musically or verbally inclined as others, there are a few things you should watch out for that may signal developmental delays. If your 2-year-old cannot say more than 15 words, does not use two-word phrases or does not use speech to communicate more than his immediate needs, WebMD states that these may be signs of a problem.

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