Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to Stop Toddler Tantrums with Baby Sign Language!

Today I'm featuring a guest post from Misty of Baby Sign Language. Scott and I have signed with the kiddos since they were about 6 months. We love it and are so glad we did it!

Stop Toddler Tantrums with Baby Sign Language!

Research shows that toddlers who learn Baby Sign Languagehave temper tantrums less often than non-signing toddlers. They also scream, bite, and kick less! Is it too good to be true?

Let’s think about why tantrums happen in the first place. Though it may be a tight fit, put yourself in your toddler’s shoes for a moment. You can understand what people say to you, but you can’t really respond. You know that you desperately want your teddy bear, but your mother is insisting that you want more pureed asparagus, and you don’t know how to tell her of her error! So you throw the asparagus across the room. Or, your ear hurts and you don’t know why, and your mother insists you just need a nap. The only recourse you can think of is to try to drive your heels through your crib rails.

Imagine how frustrating it must be to be a baby! Everyone around you seems to be able to communicate, except you. Even the dog seems to get what she wants!

Enter American Sign Language for babies. It’s not a cure all or a quick fix, but it sure is a handy tool to have in your parenting toolkit.

Signing babies and toddlers can tell their parents when they are in pain, and specify where it hurts by making the sign for “hurt” near the part of their body that is giving them grief. By teaching Baby Sign Language, you enable your baby to tell you when she is hungry, thirsty, and when she’s had enough. A signing toddler can ask to get down from his high chair, or ask to get up onto the couch. He can even ask for help when he needs it, instead of screaming until you read his mind.

And as for the one that really shocked me? Signing toddlers can actually tell you when they are tired by asking to go to bed! And some of them even will!

Yes, teaching a toddler sign language does take some effort on your part, but not as much as you might think. You already talk to your child, right? To teach a baby to sign, you simply sign when you talk. Every time you say a word, you make the corresponding sign. Take the word “hungry” for example. When you ask your child, “Are you hungry?” you make the sign for “hungry” when you say the word. Eventually, a child will learn to tell you that he is hungry by making the sign. This usually happens without the screaming and hitting too!

In short, signing with your baby or toddler can save your baby frustration, but it can also save you frustration! You can find all the resources you need to get started (or to keep going) with Baby Sign Language. Good luck!

Check out the other article Misty wrote over at Multiples and More yesterday!

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