Toddlers and Sign Language - Sometimes, little is more...

by Aileen & Oscar

Everything I did with my baby was different to what people in my family background did.

I was the first to breastfeed after two generations. I did 'Baby-led weaning' contrary to what had always been done before.

I chose his weaning foods for their high nutritional value. He slept in a hammock and then with me and now in a small bed beside me (he's 13 months now), as opposed to a cot from day one.

I didn't set out to be oppositional and I don't think there's anything wrong with those other things...I was just determined to exercise choice in a way that previous generations had not.

I was 35 years old when I had him and he'll probably be my only child. I had a chance to think about what really felt right for me to do with him...and that he would benefit from. Baby-signing was a part of that.

For mothers and fathers that don't feel wholly committed or don't feel that they have the time...I used a few signs whenever I thought of them from about 8 months on.

Now at 13 months my son can ask me for a drink or food, or more specifically fruit, and a bath. He can tell me with signs that he's tired or ask me if he's allowed to touch something.

It doesn't sound like a lot but it really impacts on our communication in a good way. He points a lot and improvises signs because he knows he'll be listened to.

I find he only really bothers with a sign if he is really motivated to use it. If I respond too quickly to his wants, he is less motivated to use his signs.

I will definitely be expanding his signs in the future...I'm hoping they're going to help both of us through the toddler years!!

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