There are a lot of benefits to using sign language with your baby or toddler - you can enjoy two way communication with your pre-verbal child, signing children often have a larger (speaking and signing) vocabulary at an early age and research has indicated that elementary school children who signed as babies have higher IQs and superior communication skills than their non-signing peers. But there is another advantage that I've been hearing about, one that I've been crossing my fingers and hoping we benefit from: the ability to ease frustration in order to avoid toddler temper tantrums. And I got my wish the other night!
Anyone who has experienced sleep problems with their baby will inevitably read about the importance of establishing a bedtime routine. As I've discussed many times, we have battled with sleep for most of Nate's life. So we've had a bedtime routine established since he was about four months old. It's been altered here and there but has been pretty consistent for the last several months.
A couple of nights ago, he didn't take an afternoon nap and by the time bedtime came around he was a grouch. We managed to get through the bedtime story, but when it came time for nursing (usually his favorite part), he was miserable and wanted no part of it. He signed ALL DONE and pushed me away. He was flapping his hands and headed for full out meltdown when I realized he was signing WATER. I was really confused. He's always loved water, but at no time has it ever played a part in our bedtime rituals. "You want water?" I asked a few times, in disbelief. But he nodded "yes!" with relief in his eyes.
If you're interested in signing with your baby, read about the basics here.
Looking for safe toys for your little one? Come back this Friday for our Little Sapling Toys giveaway! One lucky Nater Tot winner will receive their choice of an adorable organic Little Teething Toy.