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Posted in Toddlers on 8th January 2011

Sign Language For Toddlers

Sign Language is an invaluable tool for toddlers to communicate before they have fully developed their speech. The toddler years are full of frustrations and tantrums; providing some mutual understanding can help to relieve some of this tension. Their development is especially important during these first two years and is more rapid than at any other time in their life. Signing for toddlers can be used to compliment speech development and fill in the gaps where they don’t quite have the words yet.

Toddlers are exciting little people. Everything happens at such a pace; it is a time for growing, developing and exploring. Parent interaction during this crucial period is so important. Proper speech development will allow them to engage in proper social interactions which will develop their social skills. Speech and social development are some of the most important milestones; how they progress these two vital skills will play a major role in the way their future plays out.

Toddler Sign Language is the use of gestures to convey the meaning of certain keywords. Some begin this sign language much earlier and refer to it as baby signing. There is no difference between baby sign language and toddler sign language.

Although toddlers are able to speak a few words by their first birthday, they are still learning their language skills right up until their third birthday. It will take this long for some toddlers to be understood by their family members. Toddlers are so demanding and expect everything to go their way. They also know exactly what they want and when they want it. By providing them a means to communicate these things without the frustration of not being able to speak properly, you can reduce frustration. Frustration, especially in boys can lead to aggression problems later on. It shouldn’t be considered as a means to give in to the toddler, in fact, toddler sign language can often be used to re-direct the behavior to a more appropriate solution.

Some parents report that their toddlers revert back to sign language when frustrated. Not being able to spit out what they are trying to say but still keen to get their point across. This offers them a release for their frustrations allowing the temper to dissipate.

Teaching sign language to your toddler is easy. They are very keen to copy anything that their parents do, so as long as the gesture is always used with the word, it will be picked up on very quickly. Choose some keyword signs that are important to your toddler and are not spoken by them yet. Use these simple gestures every time you speak that keyword and only ever use the gesture in a relevant situation. They should catch on very quickly and be able to mimic and replicate your signs.

Children that may be suffering from a slight language delay are also great candidates for toddler signing. By having a visual stimulus, the words take on shape and have more meaning to the toddler. Toddlersign language has also been shown to improve speech development when accompanied with the spoken word. Parent’s who use toddler sign language are more likely to spend quality time with their toddlers and take a vested interest in their development.

 

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