At this stage in the game you and your baby are fully immersed in the silent world of communication. You have a language that few other people share. This means you often get to talk in complete secrecy, yet in plain sight – so take advantage of it. When your little guy forgets to say THANK YOU to Grandma for the gift she’s given him, a gentle reminder from across the room can do wonders. There might be a time when your toddler has more pressing issues like urgently needing to use the TOILET but doesn’t want to shout the bad news across the room. Thankfully he can do so with ease with a simple sign. As you work on potty training, you will find signs very useful to solidify the concepts and also offer reminds throughout the day. When your toddler is busy with friends, he might ignore his urges, so a sign from across the way can tell you if it’s time to head to the restroom.
Above: The “T” handshape where the thumb is pushed through the index and middle finger and shook in mid-air. The “T” in the ASL sign represents toilet.
Signs also work well across large distances to control your toddler’s behaviour. You can sign NO TOUCH when your toddler runs toward something fragile at a friend’s house. This option is so much better than running and screeching, wouldn’t you say? Your toddler can also ask for HELP if he’s having trouble with something and doesn’t want to interrupt the other adults. Even still, signs give shy toddlers a voice when strangers are around and they aren’t confident enough to speak up.
Above: Made-up signs are signs baby makes up when he doesn’t know the proper word. We found made-up signs were fine, but you might insist that baby learns the right word. Made-up signs shows you that baby has associated specific actions with words. Holden made up a CRAZY sign which had no meaning, as well as BROCCOLI and HOLE.