When my son was a baby, I'd wait until he was sleeping (or my husband was free, or my parents were visiting, or we had a babysitter) so I could finally sit down at the computer and get some writing done. Not my husband. He'd balance the baby on his lap and type away. And when our curious son reached out and touched or banged on a key, my husband would say, "Good boy--that's the letter G!" Not surprisingly, my son learned his letters very, very early.
My point isn't that my son was brilliant, but that he was being exposed to letters at a very early age. My little nephew, on the other hand, whose parents are both artists, learned his colors and shapes early because that's what his parents stressed when they were playing with him. So much of baby learning is simply how much exposure a child has to different aspects of the world.
My husband and I also made it a point to incorporate letters into daily conversation. At snack time we would say, "Here's your milk. Milk starts with the letter 'M.'" Another idea we came across was making a set of alphabet flash cards and playing matching games. We’d point to the letters on a box of crackers and say we'd give our son a cracker for every letter he named. We also made sure to cover the refrigerator with brightly colored letters.
And, of course, there’s always the classic alphabet song. But I prefer the alphabet song that my mother sang to my son throughout his infancy, called, "A You're Adorable.” The lyrics start: "A you're adorable, B you're so beautiful, C you're a cutie full of charm. . . " The lyrics turn the alphabet into a sweet love song. Check out the song on YouTube so you can learn to sing it to your baby yourself!
Beth Weinhouse is an award-winning journalist who specializes in writing about parenting issues and women's health. She's been an editor at Ladies' Home Journal and Parenting magazines, and her work has appeared in dozens of consumer magazines and websites.
Parenting advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.