Thursday, July 24, 2014

Toddler Communication: How to Help them

Back again for the next topic of "One Year and Beyond", this week's topic? Helping your toddler to communicate (words, emotions, etc). 

This is a hard one because every kid is different. Some kids just get it better than others, ya know? So just remember every kid is different and because they don't speak as well as another, doesn't mean they are behind.

Here are 3 tips for what we do with our kids:
1.  Early on Baby Fox taught us sign language. Yep you read that right, he started doing some hand signals and I knew he was trying to tell us something, I figured out what he was trying to tell us over the course of about a week. (He would open and close his fist with one hand if he wanted some more of something, and he would open and close both fists if he wanted something to drink, and he would raise his hands in the air (think the signal for touchdown) if he was done with whatever he was doing, crazy right?)

Funny, but Mini Fox, on her own is starting to use the same signals for things too. Must be a baby thing? We just encourage the behavior to keep up with the signals. While we didn't ever set out to teach our babies sign language we follow their lead. It does make it easier when they want something to eat/drink/are done

Opening and closing her fists
 2.  What we did for Baby Fox and continue to do with Mini Fox is we never talk in baby talk. We never dumb anything down, we talk to the kids like Mr. and I speak to each other. Basically, we can't stand baby talk so we never did it to our kids. If they say something incorrectly, we never say, no that's not how you say it, we usually just repeat back to him and use the word in the correct way. So if he said "go imming" we would just repeat, "you want to go swimming?" Eventually he caught on to the correct way to pronounce things.

4.  We were/are constantly talking to them, when going to grocery store, instead of thinking things in my head, I would talk out loud to them. Like "so what's next on the list? Oh that's right let's go get some paper towels, where do you think they put paper towels? Usually they're over in the corner, let's head that way" or "remind me when we get home to put the sprinklers on" even though you know they can't remind you, I always talk to them like I would talk to a friend.

5. Emotionally we never let his emotions or lack of being able to communicate lead to bad behavior. So if he's trying to tell us something and is getting frustrated and starting to yell and scream/cry we always keep calm and in a calm voice tell him "Baby Fox, stop crying and show us what you want/use your words" When he did have a few words and could communicate to us that he wanted a toy or something to eat and he would start to flap his arms and cry (his signature move), we calmly tell him, "since when do you get anything when you throw a fit? When you calm down, let me know when you're ready to talk" Usually that gets him to stop and think about what he's doing. Occationally when his fits are really bad, we'll mimic what he's doing to show him what he looks like and reiterate, "you don't get anything by crying and throwing a tantrum."

This was Baby Fox's first and only full on tantrum. He literally threw himself on the ground and started kicking. I took one look at him, said this is great, and grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures while laughing at how dramatic he was being. Literally 30 seconds later, he realized, oh I'm not getting what I want. He got up, walked over to me and just gave me a hug and stopped crying.

What are some of the things that you do to help your kids communicate?

Week 1 - Keeping Your Marriage Alive with a Toddler
Week 2 - 10 Fun Summer Activities for Toddlers 

Now go check out some other awesome Mama's and their ways to communicate

We are back with week three of our series and hopefully this helps you other mamas to find out how to help your toddler communicate!  Make sure to check out the other 10 wonderful mamas who are posting with me this week.  And don't forget to write your own post and link it up below!

July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)


  1. Haha gotta love those full on tantrums lol! Great tips girl :)

  2. Love this! I never really taught Mia sign language and there are times now when I wish I had!
    Sometimes Eric does baby talk (especially when reading books... he picks out one or two key words and then turns the page, AH!) so I'm trying to teach him that he shouldn't do this because it's how she learns!!