Not so long ago I taught my nephew who was a bit older than 2-years-old at the time a few signs just for fun. My sister had introduced a few signs to his younger brother, but wasn’t doing it in any serious way. I ended up teaching Rowan APPLE, MORE and ALL DONE in a matter of minutes. He got pretty excited by the whole deal and was running around saying “Uncle Chris! Uncle Chris” then signing and saying APPLE, APPLE!
Despite knowing how to say the words, he found it quite amusing to do the signs. Being not quite verbal yet, but starting to pick up steam, I could see that he could use signs even at his age. While he could say quite a few words, at times he was hard to understand. Had he had some additional signs, he could clarify what he was aiming to say. On more than a few occasions, I couldn’t make out what he was getting at. It didn’t bother him all that much, but I could see that he was really fighting to connect with me. I tried my best to work through what he was saying, and thankfully, we could spend some time together and enjoy his toys and books, but it would have been much more enjoyable had we been able to chat a bit more easily.
Having experienced this first hand, I would highly recommend teaching signs to toddlers at age 2. I would say that if your toddler isn’t at least 50% clear in most of he is saying then signs will be a great help. We all know what it’s like to be misunderstood and you can imagine that being a toddler and trying to voice something wouldn’t be much different. Considering that teaching a sign to a toddler can take mere seconds, it’s any wonder why not all parents take the time to teach a sign or two.