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Can learning too much be a bad thing?

I am happily blessed with 2 very smart kids. For the last 6 years I have dedicated myself to teaching them everything I can. My 3 year old currently knows all of the capitals, can spell a lot of words, and read a lot of words. Her vocabulary is amazing and shocks most people. Some folks have told me that I am doing more harm than good by teaching her things that are a bit more advanced for her age. I disagree...I think knowledge is the most important thing besides your kids you will ever have. Does anyone feel like I push my child too hard or teach her too much for such a young age?

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Asked by NicNatsMom at 4:25 AM on Apr. 10, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 6 (138 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • As long as you are not forcing her to sit there for hours while you teach her I see nothing wrong with it. My daughters love to learn new things and we read a ton so they are constantly shocking people with the things I know. I think it is great for kids to learn about a wide variety of stuff. you are doing great mama. (unless you are chaining her down to do it lol) Keep up the good work and ignore the people who tell you that you that you are harming your child by helping her learn.

    Answer by MooNFaeRie30 at 5:37 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • I think it's fine, but make sure you are teaching her how to have fun too. Take her to playgrounds, play hopscotch, ride a trike, etc

    Answer by missanc at 6:23 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • NEVER! As long as you are not pushing her beyond what she enjoys. Children under 5 are veritable sponges for knowledge and it's a pity we waste that time! Do not listen to the naysayers. You are doing something that more people should do!

    Good for you!

    Answer by winterglow at 6:29 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • That depends on how you are teaching this stuff and who/what is driving the learning. Is the kid interested in this stuff and tries to learn it even if you don't encourage it (if the kid is just obviously pushing herself because she's ready and eager), then you are definitely doing the right thing by stepping up and helping her learn! But if you are encouraging the kid to buckle down and memorize facts when she'd rather run off and play with something else, then yeah you should back off a bit. Oh, and being "advanced for her age" isn't a problem. The norms are just exactly that: what is "normal". And then there are the kids who are naturally going to move a little slower or faster. These kids who aren't "normal" aren't wrong in any way, it's just who they are.

    Answer by Sebbiemama at 7:09 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • I am a HUGE fan of education and anyone who says learning is a bad thing, needs more education. There are so many ways to learn and if you kid(s) really enjoy learning, feed it!! Find fun ways for them to learn. Make it into games. Just remember to let them learn at their own pace,

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 7:32 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • Do you not let them be kids, do you drill them for hours on learning? I don't think teaching kids alot will do any harm, but if you are spending more than an hour a day doing things like flash cards etc. you might be a bit overboard.

    Answer by jerseydiva at 9:04 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • I think age-appropriate learning is an important distinction. Relevant factors: considerations such as whether the learning is mostly parent-directed or child-led, if there is direct concrete meaning for the child because the learning is rooted in her own doing/making (look up constructivism) or if the material instead is heavily abstract or symbolic (and essentially memorization.) An amazing vocabulary is very positive & probably indicates actual mastery, active meaning-making in the child & a rich environment. But it happens naturally as part of the child's way of being in the world; it's an outgrowth of engagement, not something externally managed or "done to" the child. Children have very plastic minds. They memorize & make spontaneous connections, but it's richer if WHAT they memorize is something meaningful to them (rhymes, songs, fave books), rather than abstract information & facts they're "taught" (rote memorization.)

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:17 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • On the flip side, child-directed free-play (instead of an early focus on "academic learning" & memorization of facts) is a rich foundation for intellectual flourishing. The most appropriate thing young children can be doing is playing; this is the "ground" for all their meaning-making. Acquiring information such as number & letter recognition (all of these are symbolic representation) later tends to come easily & naturally to children whose preschool years focused on play (which, as frogdawg said, is meaningful work.) You can read discussions on the development of "executive function" and its connection to "free play" or "unstructured play," to learn a bit about how important neurological processes (directly related to impulse control, cognition, self-regulation) REQUIRE certain kinds of play & the learning/brain growth that comes from it. Also, early emphasis on "structured" learning can inhibit this neurological development.

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:30 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • As long as it is age appropriate.

    Answer by robinkane at 11:56 AM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • Hi Moms, thank you for your input. In response to the posts, I never force my kids to learn anything because I fear they will hate learning if I do. We spend most of our days outside when the weather is appropriate, love learning about nature and exploring with my kids. We do not watch much tv, although I do allow them to watch PBS shows. My daughter has a natural desire for learning. My 6 year old son has actually taught her a lot. He is what some would consider a gifted child, at 6 years old he is 2 years ahead of his peers in school and will be in the 3rd grade this August. With my son, his learning came naturally...almost supernaturally if you ask me. My daughter however, craves learning and I have had many people tell me that I am forcing her to grow up too quick...but I don't force anything. A mind is a terrible thing to waste and around here we waste nothing. Have a great day lovelies!

    Comment by NicNatsMom (original poster) at 12:10 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

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