Observe the child counting with an adult during daily activities.
If the adult does not spontaneously request counting, ask them to request that the child count something with which they are engaged (e.g., food, blocks, books, outdoor items such as leaves or sticks, etc.). Listen as the child uses numbers. She may for instance say, “Here is one for you.”
The child will count using number words, with accuracy, to 3 or 4.
Emphasize the importance of meaningful (rational) versus rote counting. Parents often ask their child to perform (“Can you count for me?”). Help them to understand that counting actual objects using pointing helps the child learn the meaning of the numbers. Children are more motivated to count if they have a reason. For example, “Help me put 3 strawberries on each plate.”
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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