One Simple Gesture To Do With Your Child Everyday

With toddlers, learning to verbalize & speak is an exciting, but somewhat challenging adventure. You see their little minds processing & trying to repeat your every word. The “sponge” as many people call it. We decided early on to use Baby Sign Language as a tool of communication & a pathway for Scarlett to start using her words.Baby Signs is manually signing words to allow your little one to verbalize their needs & wants prior to being able to speak. Using these signs

Baby Signs is manually signing words to allow your little one to verbalize their needs & wants prior to being able to speak. Using these signs has lead us into using words with signs, and in turn, speaking words alone. At 19 months, we continue to use them, learn new ones & mixing it up with both gestures and words!

A child can express themselves through non-verbal and verbal gestures.

Baby Sign Language

Anyone will a little one knows that they will do anything to get your attention. If they can’t verbalize what they need or want, they sure can show us! As they grow into those toddler years, it can be astounding how many words they know and/or can say. By 2 years old, some toddlers have a vocabulary of 25 words or more!

There is always an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary to your child! Whether it is prepping lunch, walking to the mailbox, or just relaxing outdoors, talking about what you are doing in the moment is important. Having conversations with your toddler helps nurture their social-emotional development. As a parent of a toddler, my goal is to always be attentive & acknowledge when Scarlett is addressing me or showing me something. It is meaningful to her, so I take it in the moment & make it a priority to pay close attention.

I have now made a conscious effort of doing one very simple gesture with her every day during our conversations. It takes one second to do and will make a significant difference in how your child reacts to you when speaking.

Take a moment and kneel to their eye level.

Getting down to eye level

Simply bending down & making eye contact with them shows them that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying, doing or showing you. It is the act of active listening and showing interest that takes it from “that’s nice” to “wow, what a beautiful flower! It is your favorite color!”.

“Quality time means giving a child undivided attention. For a small child, it means sitting on the floor…You must get down on the child’s level if you eventually want to lead them to the adult world.”
― Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

Once Scarlett started to verbalize her needs, I made it a point to get down to her level as often as possible. I forget here and there, but when I can, what a difference it makes to her. She becomes engaged, excited & she can’t wait to show me! This type of gesture shows a child that what they are saying is important & that it means something. It also helps build up their self-esteem & self-worth simply by being at their level.

Be sure to give them your full attention…they deserve it!

Scarlett exploring and giving full attention

I had an exceptional high school teacher that ran a preschool program through the school. I attended her preschool 15 years prior to attending her high school class! This lady was amazing with children. Every time a child entered in her classroom, she made it a point to bend to her knees to greet each one. Even in times of distress, she would get to their level to comfort them and bring them close. She was a teacher for 30+ years and I can only imagine all the lives she impacted by making this one, simple gesture with every child, every time. I still remember this so she did her job and did it well!

What ways do you and your little one like to connect, whether it is verbal or non-verbal. Let’s all start trying to do this with our littles at least once a day starting today!

Take care,

katie tickled scarlett signature for blog

REFERENCES

Chapman, Gary D. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Chicago: Northfield Pub, 1995. Print & Website. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

  • Stacey Berube

    Such a wonderful post, I have noticed with my own children, that they respond so much better when I get down to their level!

    • Thank you Stacey for reading and your polite comment. It makes such a difference and they respond so well when you are at their level. Take care 🙂

  • Shanika G-White

    I love this! I’ve recently started teaching my 2 year old sign language since he isn’t talking as much as most kids his age. I realize that his personality is the cause of him not talking, simply because he doesn’t want to. So, sign language has been a really great way to encourage more verbalization and it’s been awesome. Now he actually tries to repeat words since his confidence has increased with sign language. But your gesture of kneeling is a really good idea! I definitely think that kids are react based on our reactions as parents, therefore, if you kneel to be more engaged and show that you are truly listening, they will be encouraged to have a conversation for sure! Great post!

    • HI Shanika! I am so happy to hear that signing as opened up his communication. I believe it is a great gateway into helping them verbalize. Keep up the great work Mama!

  • My Veteran Woman Life

    Kids have much different needs that adults. I love this post because you really do just need to get down to their level!

    • Isn’t it so unique and funny how different things are from childhood to adulthood?! Thank you so very much for reading!

  • Jillian Elizabeth

    love this. My two girls are ages 5 and 8 and I still get on my knees to talk to them at eye level. It makes such a difference. Great post.

    • Hi Jillian! Thank you for reading and what fun ages for your girls. Glad you enjoyed my post. Take care!

  • Amanda Lei Rollison

    I completely agree with this! My son responds so much better when I get on eye level with him. Plus he’s been asking us to sit on the floor and play with him! So sweet.

    • Thank you Amanda for taking a moment to read. You can see such a difference in their response when you are at their level…love it!

  • Dada KS

    Yes I do it all the time to bending down when speaking with her or listen to her. I can see that she change the attitude right away. And I time is really pricelss for the kids! Thats the beat gift we parent can give them beside love ect.

    • Thank you for reading and I agree completely…there is never enough time and what a difference it makes to them when you are right there listening. Take care!

  • Maranda Laverdure

    I love this I have been giving this advice for years. I was a daycare provider before having children and that was one of the biggest lessons was coming to a child’s level and connecting with them. It really works wonders if you just give it a try. Thank you for sharing such great information!!

    • I completely agree Maranda. It makes such a difference to them and you can see their body language change during any situation. I appreciate the kind words!

  • Such great tips! I’m guilty of not getting on my daughter’s level and not giving her my full attention. I need to work on that!

    • Thank you Amber for taking a moment to comment and read my blog. It can make such a difference on how the respond and react to any situation. Let us know how she responds. Take care 🙂

  • Karen Lizarraras

    i love these tips. I definitely need to get more at her level though! something ive known but just seem to not do!

    • Hi Karen! Thank you for reading and hope it makes a difference with you and your little. Take care!

  • Tachi Wi

    Loved this I can implement this easily with the little one . Thanks for the tips 😄

    • Thank you Tachi for reading and so happy to hear that my tips are welcomed! Please let us all know how your little responds to it. I love to hear feedback!

  • This is definitely something I try to do! I was an elementary school teacher before staying home with my boys and it helps so much to communicate with children on their level.

    • What a special treat to have been a teacher and now a mommy…many skills are going to use! Thank you for reading Erin!

  • Elizabeth Voyles

    A great point. It is something I try to do but don’t always think about. It’s great to remember to be conscientious about taking the time to get yourself down at your child’s level to connect with them. Beautifully written.

    • Thank you Elizabeth for the kind words and taking a moment to comment. I love how you can see what a difference it makes when you get to their level. They are just to few moments to do so when they are this little! Take care.

  • Margaret Wahl Westhoff

    I agree with you that getting down to your child’s level and giving them your undivided attention is so important! With a 1-year-old and 2-year-old, there are lots of gestures and pointing in my house to communicate the kids’ wants and needs. I’m really trying to get my 2 year old to start speaking more to express himself.

    • Thank you Margaret for taking some time to read. I do hope my little tips help your family. Finding some fun signing books is a great start at any age…we still use signs everyday!

  • Lindsey Ann

    These are such great ideas for toddlers and those early communication skills!!

    • I appreciate your kinds words Lindsey. Let me know how your littles respond with it!

  • Dawn Wairimu

    this is so special! i love the ideas for kids.

    • Thank you Dawn! It is so important to get to their level.