I hate whining. Crying is right up there too, except that I have a little bit more sympathy for that in so much as it because of real distress. However, that being said, where there’s a way to reduce it, I’m all over it!
This is where baby sign language comes in handy. Crying and whining are just two forms of (immature/primitive) vocalizations. For example, adults rarely cry, they usually resort to talking about differences, sometimes even yelling when they aren’t being heard. However, even us old people sometimes cry when our emotions overwhelm us. However, children who don’t have the vocabulary are overwhelmed often. They simply don’t have the words to describe their wants, needs and feelings.
By teaching a child the signs for things, you reduce the likelihood that they will resort to crying and tantrums to get their point across. Thus, I highly recommend teaching the sign for HURT as soon as possible. In fact, it’s one of the signs I recommend teaching on my short list to signing. While other signs can be taught, the sign for HURT, should be taught. As soon as the first teeth start coming in, you’ll know full well the value of signing because teething pain is not something that is easily observed. When your baby can sign HURT and tell you that their teeth are bothering them it empowers them and gives you a chance to sooth their pain with medication or a cold chew toy. If a child wakes in the middle of the night you’ll never know if they have had a bad dream or night terror, have a stomach ache, hit their head on the crib bars or are just not tired any longer. A baby that can sign, can tell you all these things.
As your baby turns into a toddler, they will be able to report back to you every time they bump their head while out of sign or stubbed a toe. A signing child will quickly make their way to Mom or Dad and sign HURT over the source of their pain.