Put the flash cards away

Source: preschoolkidsbooks.net

I realize this post may be unpopular with some, but let me assure you, doing flash cards with your toddler or preschooler is not the path to success in school. Sure, we all want our kids to do well in school and be the best and smartest in the class. But doing rote memorization and teaching abstract academic concepts too early can be more of a detriment. This is particularly true when it’s done in the place of important heart training.

There is so much more to this issue than I can even touch on in one post, but please understand that having a child who can read at age 2 is not a sure-fire path to success. So what is the path to success? Letting your child develop at a natural pace is what will prepare him for school. The second year of a child’s life (after his 1st birthday) is all about walking and talking. The third year (after his 2nd birthday) is all about asserting some independence and realizing that the child is separate from his parents. Age 3 should be all about imaginative play. Some parents mistakenly assume that a confidently talking child can start to learn real academics. But please don’t deprive your child of imaginative play. It is crucial to a child’s brain development.

Just as important as the natural order of development is taking the time to teach values and virtues. This will do far more than teaching a 3-year-old his times tables. Which would you prefer? A child who knows his academics early but disrespects authority, or a child who knows the virtues and values that it takes to successfully navigate his way through school? Consider the following:

“Little Stephanie waits patiently while her preschool teacher hands out the animal crackers. With camel, sheep, and monkey cookies placed before her, Stephanie looks up and with a gentle touch of her fingers to her lips she signs the words thank you. No one is surprised then, when Stephanie, after carefully discarding her napkin, is among the first to respond when the teacher calls the class to reading time,” (On Becoming Preschoolwise, p. 29).

Clearly, Stephanie’s parents were focused on much more than academics.

“While others in her group may be stimulated at home with flash cards and Spanish tapes, Stephanie’s parents, along with many others in this new generation of Moms and Dads, have chosen to equally emphasize another component of development that includes: virtues, values, and Stephanie’s heart,” (On Becoming Preschoolwise, p. 29).

Don’t discount the importance of such teachings in preparation for school (no matter when you start).

The book says it best:

“Think about it. Order, patience, self-control, attention, thinking before acting–all are prerequisites to learning…. Learning to count from one to ten or picking colors from a chart does not make your preschooler kinder, more self-controlled, or easier to manage, “(On Becoming Preschoolwise, p. 37).

And not only will these skills serve him well in school; they will serve him well in life.


  1. I agree with you to a point. But can there not be a balance of academic exposure and training the heart? I don’t see why it has to be either/or.

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