Sign language is a great tool to help reduce temper tantrums in your baby and toddler. Studies have shown that teaching pre-verbal children how to use simple signs to communicate with you will help to reduce their frustration. This is because they are able to tell you what they want, eliminating many guessing games.
When my daughter was 10 months old, I was giving her Cheerios in her highchair and she kept throwing them on the ground and signing ‘more’. I said to her, “You don’t want ‘more’! What do you want?” and she signed ‘more’ ‘cheese’.
I was amazed that my 10 month old signed two words together, but also that she was able to easily
tell me what she wanted. Additionally, there was no cheese in sight and I hadn’t offered her any during this snack time. If she didn’t have that sign to use, then I would have assumed she was finished because she was throwing her food on the floor. She would then have been angry and frustrated, possibly resulting in a temper tantrum.
Sign language as a tool is also very handy when children are learning how to talk. Many times the child is not always clear in his speech and we can’t be100% sure what word they are saying. For example, some kids might say ‘ba’ and it means a number of things like, ball, bath, bottle, book etc. If your child is signing, you can then understand what he wants, eliminating the frustration of having to guess.
Here are five great signs to start with:
Using sign language is as easy as teaching a child how to wave good-bye. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent. If you are choosing to teach the sign ‘milk’, then every time you say the word milk you should make the sign. Just like reading a book or teaching a song, this is just another enhancement you can bring to your child’s life.