Wednesday, June 14, 2017

When Will My Child Learn Colors?

I often get questions from parents wondering if their child is colorblind. This concern arises when their child cannot seem to identify a correct color. 

Why the concern? Often our only benchmark of knowing when children should be able to do something is by comparing her to the neighbor child! It is natural to be concerned when the neighbor kid can consistently identify his colors, count to 10, and know his shapes before your child can. 

Every child has amazing skills and abilities that will outshine others. Some children master their colors before they are two years old! Other children can say most of the colors with consistent accuracy, but mix up a couple colors. So, when should your toddler know her colors? The general advice is that children should be able to name at least one color correctly by the age of three. 

Our toddler’s vocabulary is expanding at a crazy fast rate. Even though your child’s grasp on nouns, such as shoe and hat are increasing, it is still complicated to learn adjectives, such as colors. Now throw in different shades of the color and you can see how it can be hard for a child to figure out.

We often think our child will learn by hearing what a color is. We excitedly share, “look at this red flower” and expect the child to realize that the flower is red when there are so many additional colors around. For example, the green stem and grass, the blue sky, mom’s yellow skirt, and other colors of flowers next to the red one.  

In addition to having so many colors at her immediate attention, the child also has to dissect the language. When we say red flower, you first hear the word “red”, but aren’t sure what to immediately reference this color to. This article, Why Johnny Can’t Name His Colors, suggests teaching a child colors by saying, "this flower is red." Children who heard the color after the noun were more likely to identify the correct colors when asked about other objects.

There are so many fun ways to help your child learn her colors! Check out our Pinterest page  for some great teaching activities.

In reality, it is often hard to tell if a child is colorblind before the age of five. If you do have a lingering concern, we definitely recommend asking your child’s pediatrician or an optometrist and have your child tested before she enters school. To learn more about colorblindness and for an online screener, check out this interactive website.


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