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Moms who sign with their toddlers/babies.

I have been teaching my thirteen month old sign language for about three weeks. She knows about five signs, and does them in the right context. The problem is the signs she knows are milk, eat, cracker, and drink. My daughter has always been a healthy eater, but I watch what she eats and she is very active. She is always asking me to eat, even right after she has had her snack or has had a meal. The doctor is already concerned about her weight (26lbs), and I don't know whether she is signing because she is hungry, or she has just learned the signs and she is showing me. I dont want to ignore her if she is asking me for something, but at the same time I dont want her to eat and eat and eat. If I dont give it to her, I am afraid she might stop signing because she is frustrated or she thinks I dont understand. Has anyone else had this problem?


Asked by 2-1CavWife at 1:28 AM on Jan. 7, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • I think sign language is wonderful and it actually facilitates communication, so I recommend keeping it up. You are doing a great job already so don't get discouraged.

    What you can do is teach her signs for "wait" and "later." My son even with special needs picked up on this quickly. So yes aknowledge her when she signs "cracker, " and say " Yes you want a cracker, but you need to wait," and then do the sign for wait. Something like that.

    She is probably wanting to just use her new skill.

    Answer by J9Mommy at 2:12 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • My suggestion...teach her signs that are not food related.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:29 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • I did...I thought signing was going to help soooo much. But really, by daughter ended up signing for everything she wanted and not speaking. I finally had to pretty much ignore the signing and say "you mean hungry?" She always told us she was hungry...always. My next child..I'm going to skip the sign language. I think it's possible that she is just signing because she can communicate something that you understand. Like the PP teach her different signs. Good Luck!

    Answer by KaceesMom at 1:32 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • My daughter signs too and that was the first sign she learned and also used it constantly. My daugher also eats alot and its unhealthy. I just stopped using that sign and moved on to other signs. When she used it I just told her "yes we will eat again for lunch"
    I also went out and bought play food and now we use the sign when we are pretending. Good luck.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:34 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • I have taught her more than just food signs, those just are the ones that she has picked up so far. She also knows baby, and has done dog and cat once or twice. I didnt stick with the three sign starter rule.

    Answer by 2-1CavWife at 1:36 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • Play food is a great idea, thank you!

    Answer by 2-1CavWife at 1:38 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • Thanks for the advice, I am going to try that asap, lol!

    Answer by 2-1CavWife at 2:22 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • The only sign my son knows was taught to him by an 18-month-old little girl (he's 15 months). He watched her receive things that she wanted (food & drink) by making the sign for "more." We have certainly encouraged it, especially since he doesn't talk much. The only problem is that I think he's learned it a bit wrong. He uses it to mean "I want" rather than "I want more of ___." I don't know if this is something I should be concerned about, but I'm definitely happy that he's communicating!

    Answer by BobbysMom2007 at 2:48 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • Even if she is asking for food, if it's not snack time of meal time...don't give her food. "Yes, that's the sign for cracker, but it's not time for food. Let's go play now." As long as you acknowledge the sign, she shouldn't get frustrated and stop signing...she may get frustrated she isn't getting her way, though! LOL

    I can't believe your doctor is concerned about her being 26lbs. All three of my boys were about that weight at a year.....just the top of the charts is all....

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 5:43 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • My son was similar, the first signs he learned were food related, like milk, eat, more(as in more food, it wasn't for a while that he figured more can apply to anything else) and drink. I agree with the PP about acknowledging the sign and then saying not now and redirecting.
    As for your daughter's weight, I don't know how tall she is, but even if she is a little overweight for her height, MOST babies toddlers that young will not eat unless they're hungry. I know there's no way I could ever force my son to eat anything! IF YOU are worried about your daughter's weight, try to get her to do even more "exercise" rather than making her eat less.

    Answer by Paesana82 at 9:20 AM on Jan. 7, 2009