How to Teach a 2-Year-Old the ABCs

By Heidi Deal
Giving your toddler access to books and reading to them is one of the best ways to teach the ABCs.
Giving your toddler access to books and reading to them is one of the best ways to teach the ABCs.

Repetition is a sure way to teach your toddler the ABCs. Say the letters, make the sounds and have fun with the alphabet. Repetition builds connections in the brain that help children learn, according to Zero to Three, a website of the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. Reading books offers access to repetition and helps your child develop early literacy foundations, paving the way to master skills necessary for learning the ABCs. In addition to reading, use songs, games and association activities to teach the ABCs to your 2-year-old.

Sing the ABCs and other fun songs to your child. Sing often and sing in funny voices while making silly faces. Many preschool-aged cartoons have their own versions of alphabet songs that you can learn, or you can make up your own ABC song. Singing songs helps children become familiar with phonics and how letters can have different sounds. For example, Leapfrog offers a selection of alphabet songs and videos like The Letter Factory. You could also try Leapfrog's Learning Songs CD and Here Come the ABCs by They Might Be Giants.

Identify and associate everyday objects with the alphabet. Point things out to your toddler and incorporate the alphabet: "Your toes are so cute! Toes begin with the letter 'T'." Then help your toddler identify other things that begin with the same letter like a T-shirt, tree, tongue or tomato. It's never too early to begin teaching the alphabet to your child. You can talk about letters with an infant on the changing table. By 4 months old, babies can distinguish between vowels and consonants and attempt to recreate these letter sounds by babbling and cooing, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Play lots of games with letters, such as 52 card pick-up with alphabet flash cards, ABC memory and letter bingo. Try a simple, inexpensive game to help teach the ABCs. Write each letter of the alphabet on its own sticky note then stick them to the wall or the fridge. Put them in random order and help your toddler arrange them properly from A to Z. Don't force the issue with the games, though. Two-year-olds have a short attention span and it's OK if they move on to something else before finishing the activity, says Zero to Three. Pushing formal instruction on young children is developmentally inappropriate and can be potentially damaging.

About the Author

Heidi Deal began writing professionally in 2007. She has published more than 200 articles and owns her own copy and content development business. She has been featured on, "AppleSeeds" children's magazine and "Southern Nevada Life" magazine. Deal holds a bachelor's degree in business administration/marketing from the University of Phoenix.