Taylor is quite the little communicator with three to four word sentences now, but there was a long stretch of time from about 9 months to 15 months where she knew what she wanted but couldn’t quite say what she needed.
If you were to ask me what my best and favorite baby development tips are, my first would be baby led weaning, my second would be my Secrets of a Baby Whisperer sleep training book (also mentioned here) and the third would be baby sign language. When your little one can tell you exactly what they need to calm them down or make them happy – even when they don’t have the words to explain themselves – everyone will be the merrier. Seriously. So much merrier.
When I heard about teaching babies basic sign language it made so much sense! With an infant you are deciphering cries based on needs: food, diaper, tired… When a toddler has a specific need they try so hard to convey it to you as well, and it results in endless frustration on both ends. Being proactive about teaching a few signs to equip them with communication has saved us many times over.
I dug up these photos from just a few months ago as a few examples of which were our favorite words. Our MOST used signs included: I want food, I’m all done (for eating, playing, taking a bath…) and I want more (for food, going down the slide, you name it).
In addition to those three common requests, we also frequently used: please, thank you, dog (she got a kick out of pointing out Bodie), water, milk and sleep (it’s a nice heads up that nap time is on the way).
A few visuals for those signs:
Thank you to Parenting for the above images :). Milk is hard to make out from the illustration but it’s a hand movement like you’re milking a cow. Ha! Especially fun if you’re still nursing.
We started signing when Liv was a baby, and I’ll start incorporating just the most basic signs into everyday communication when Marley is about 7 or 8 months old. It’s great when they make that little brain connection that they can talk to you and start to sign back! Communication is king in baby world.
What do you think? Have you or would you use sign language? Did you have a good experience with it?