Most of what I post on will relate to my son’s education. He’s going in to first grade, so obviously his educational needs are more than those of my toddler daughter. However, today I want to highlight some resources that have already made a huge difference for my toddler daughter’s learning: Sign Language.
Although Strawberry Shortcake is just 16 months old, she already can sign some of the following words: her brother’s name, milk, water, cracker, chicken, cereal, more, please, sorry, all done, bath, sleepy, baby, and diaper. Yep, she tells me when she needs or wants a new diaper! I’ve been using sign language with her consistently since she was about six months old, and now she can communicate in many of her common situations. That does not mean she doesn’t scream and yell (as her brother did) but it’s a bit more controlled because she’s not yelling for frustration of not being understood: she is yelling from annoyance that I don’t always give her what she wants!
We have used a few resources. The best are the Signing Time videos. These videos have kids signing the signs along with Rachel, who teaches the signs and then sings a song using all the signs we’ve just learned. My favorite is the original series, although there are also more versions: the second series as well as “baby signing time.” I am not a huge fan of Baby Signing Time, but it too keeps my toddler enthralled. She loves learning words via Signing Time, and I know she looks forward to watching the videos because she jumps up and down and says “Signing Time” in baby talk and signs “Signing” and “Time.” (Yes, truly!)
We also have Baby Sign 1-2-3 and My First Signs board book. For obvious reasons, reading a book is not as effective as watching a video and doing it myself! I did take one year of ASL at the college level, so I have background in the language. But Signing Time and other resources make signing to your baby easy these days.
If you have a young baby or toddler, I’d encourage you to find a signing resource and begin signing with your child. You won’t regret it! Your baby does not need a lot of “schooling” of course, but helping him or her communicate is well worth the investment of time.
Do you want more ideas for teaching a toddler?