We are a long way from the days when our daughter could only use crying to get her point across (even though it still feels like yesterday sometimes). Now that she is a growing toddler she has developed some pretty good communication skills. Being a stay at home mom I have been able to spend a lot of time communicating with her and teaching her how to communicate with us. We read books all the time, it is her favorite thing to do, we talk and sing, and I’ve taught her some sign language. I think that has helped her develop some pretty good communication skills so far.
I consider myself lucky to have a toddler that can get her point across pretty efficiently (most of the time!). It is so much easier to know, or at least have a pretty good idea of what she is asking for. Our daughter uses a combination of sign language (both ASL and made up), gestures, and actual words to communicate with us. Since I am with her all the time I usually understand her most of the time, but even my husband who only gets to see her for a couple of hours after work and on the weekends can get the point a lot of the time.
I began teaching her sign language when she was about 9 months old. She picked it up pretty quickly. She knows the ASL signs for eat, drink and more, plus signs we made up for up, kitty (she made this one up) and all done. I’m currently working on teaching her please, thank you, and snack. The first sign she picked up on was the made up sign for UP. I had used that pretty much from birth and she started using it by the time she was 6 months old. She picked up on the others pretty quickly once I started introducing them. It only took her a day to learn the signs for drink and more, I was very impressed!
She very quickly noticed that she could get her point across using gestures as well. She has the standard gestures of pointing and waving, but has also developed a few of her own. Some of the gestures she uses are putting her hand to her ear to mean phone, snapping her fingers and rotating her hands to mean music, waving her hand in front of her face to mean stinky and moving her arms in and out to the side to mean swimming.
As her vocabulary is growing she has introduced words as well. For her age she has a pretty good vocabulary of about 25 words, including; light, duck, dinner, lunch, breakfast, cat, kitty, hat, hot, dog, snack, bath, bread, milk, blanket, bar (for granola bar), that, dada, mama, hi and tree. Since her verbal communication skills are just developing she often uses sounds or actual words in conjunction with gestures and signs to get her point across. For example she will tap her head and say hat, hold her hand out and say hot, or use her kitty sign while saying cat.
Gone are the days of trying to guess what each cry means. Most of the time she gets her point across in one try, if not we can usually guess in one or two tries. I know that now that her verbal communications skills have really started to develop she will be adding more and more words all the time and probably dropping some of her signs and gestures as she replaces them with the actual words. I wonder what her first sentence will be?
What forms of communication does your toddler use to get their point across?