Step 8 – Taming Stress
Signing, like I said before, is great for preventing tantrums with your baby. Signing helps eliminate the frustration your child feels when she can’t communicate.
For example, when your child is frantically waving her arms in the air and signing “help” to you, you would sign “help” back while asking what she needs help with. She would then try to make an attempt to sign the word for “teddy bear” that you are trying to teach her. You now realize that she wants the teddy bear that is too high up to reach. Without signing, and before your child can speak, you would have had no idea, and she would have gotten extremely frustrated.
With sign language, your baby can communicate her wants, needs, and feelings with you. There is so much less frustration when this is possible.
I think “help” is one of the most useful signs to use with your baby. While your baby is growing, she will need a lot of help with things–reaching items that are too high, opening jars, operating toys, etc. You should really make sure to include this word in your vocabulary.
I also want to make sure you know, though, that though signing helps relieve frustration and makes for fewer tantrums, not all tantrums will be prevented. Sometimes, it may seem that signing is not helping at all. However, it’s difficult to know how your baby would have reacted to something without signing. Just stay confident that you are giving your child the ability to communicate, and stay positive!
I want to take a moment to point out the key signs that I think should be part of your child’s signing vocabulary:
FINISH (“ALL DONE”)
You can see videos of these signs in the Baby Sign Language section of our ASL Dictionary.
There are only three, but I think these are absolutely necessary and will relieve a lot of frustration while your child is growing, moving around, and exploring her surroundings.
One event that might cause some stress for your child is having another baby. Your child may get frustrated if your attention with her declines. Make sure to enlist the help of a family member during this time. Having family spend time with your child can greatly help during the time you are unable to spend with her.
If you choose to sign with your new baby, this can be very fun for your child. She will probably be a great help in teaching signs to her new sibling and will also relearn the signs she learned when she was younger. This will give your child confidence and can really enhance sibling bonding between the two!
Move on to Step 9 – Advancing…
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