A Quick Look at How Children Learn Their Name

Have you ever wondered how a child learns their name? It’s an interesting progression from recognition of the specific sound of their name as a baby, all the way through to mastering the reading and writing of their name in time for school. Name recognition is related to early reading and writing skills – it’s the beginning step for learning letter-sound relationships, it helps them learn the difference between scribble and groups of letters that have meaning. Learning our names also encourages independence and promotes initiative. For example, when we can quickly identify our belongings (because they are likely labelled) we can complete tasks without asking questions about which resources to use (such as remembering where to hang our hats and bags without when we get to school).

Here's an overview

0 Years 7 Months

Your baby should start understanding and responding to their name. Some people think this starts earlier, but actually your baby is just responding to your voice and a familiar sound. The comprehension that the sound you are making is their name, won’t occur until about 7 months.

1 Year 6 Months

Your toddler will start referring to themselves using their name (this is a very sweet stage)!

2 Years 0 Months

Your toddler will start to use personal pronouns such as I and me, as well as the words my and mine to indicate possession.

2 Years 6 Months

Your little one should be able to say their first name and last name by now.

3 Years 0 Months

After mastering the first and last name, your little one will now have mastered their less familiar middle name (if they have one).

4 Years 0 Months

Your little one should now be able to trace the letters of their name in capitals (these are easier to write).

5 Years 0 Months

Your little one should be able to copy and write their first name in lower and/or upper case and can inconsistently recognise their name when it is written, by sight.

5 Years 3 Months

Your little one should be able to write their first and last name without copying and by now, they should always be able to recognise their name by sight, when written.

When is the best time to introduce stimuli with your child’s name on it for learning?

You can introduce your child’s name in written form from about 2 years, which is when they will start noticing that things belong to them (the idea of possession is developing).

But really, between 3 and 4 years of age is the ideal time for learning. This is when kids are starting to recognise letters and build the connection between the sounds in their name and the letters that match.

Tips for helping your child to recognise their own name

  • You guessed it – labelling! This is one of the reasons we endorse fabulous local companies such as named – because their products are helpful for your child’s development!
  • Writing your child’s name on their artwork and displaying it once it is finished (make sure they watch you do this and be sure to make it clear because they made the artwork, you are putting their name on it).

Tips to help your child with reading and writing their own name

  • Demonstrate writing your child’s name and then have them trace over it with crayons, chalk, through sensory writing etc.
  • Encourage your child to play with letter trains, alphabet blocks or magnetic letters to form their name.
  • Encourage your child to form their name using play-dough or clay
  • Ask your child to spot the letters of their name when driving, on signs and number plates.

For more information about your child’s education and development, contact Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Danielle Copplin through E: info@educationaltoysonline.com.au or through the Educational Toys Online Facebook page.