Best Sign for Toddlers

Best Sign for Toddlers, baby sign language help

If I’m being honest, before I had children I always thought teaching babies sign language was elitist and kind of ridiculous. Then I had my daughter. We taught her a few signs like “more” and “all done.” It was cute to see her do the hand motions with a big smile on her face. I still wasn’t 100% sold on the awesomeness of sign language. Until we taught her the sign for “help.” 

I remember talking with one of my good friends about the increase in whininess at age 1. My daughter all of a sudden seemed to understand more, but she didn’t quite have the language to describe what she wanted. And so often she made all of her wants seem to be her needs. The result = she often whined and gave me this look that said “Mom help me! Don’t you know what I want.” 

This is when I decided to teach her “help” in sign language. It tried for about a week and she didn’t seem to be catching on. So like any determined mom I gave up (haha). Then all of a sudden one day she was trying to push her shopping cart around our house and it had gotten stuck on a toy. She was motioning her arms up and down and I was thinking “Izzy what are you doing!?” Then I realized. She was signing for help! 

I can honestly say this has been one of the most useful signs she knows. I’m not guaranteeing that whininess will stop, but it’s wonderful to see her sign for help instead of constantly whine. 

Here is what the adult version looks like: 

Here is our daughter’s version of help:


Have you taught your children sign language?

What do you believe is the best sign for toddlers?

Two Resources I Enjoy Related to Sign Language:

  • I downloaded this free app on my phone. It comes with 120 signs and short videos to show you how to do them. I thought it was helpful and it includes a lot of toddler friendly signs.
  • The Mayo Clinic’s perspective on baby sign language

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  1. Ooh, sign language! Love it! We have a bit of experience with it. I tried some with our first, but she was not interested in using it. Our second, I didn’t work too much on it, except for some simple things like, more, milk, please and such. With our third, it was much the same, which I regret since she could have really, really, REALLY used more signs. But her birth happened at a very stressful time in our life, and she pretty much cried for two years, complicating things. For some reason I have been drawn to sign language even before having children. With our fourth child I decided to get more serious. We bought some “Signing Time” videos and would watch those. Our fourth started talking on time, and then decided to totally stop talking after a month! Ha, ha! She got by on sign language. I was not concerned. And no joke, the day after she turned 2 years old, she started talking in full sentences as if she had been talking all her life! And then, then, the reason I believe that the Lord put sign language on my heart came to light. Our fifth child, our first son was born. Besides a huge list of issues he had to deal with his first year, we later realized he was not talking like he should have been (at the age of 2). Since he was doing other therapies, speech wasn’t added in until 2 and a half. By three, he was still not saying any words, not even “mama” or “dada”. During this time we were doing sign language. He was re-evaluated at age three and was diagnosed with speech apraxia. Sign language was the *only* way he could communicate. The younger two that came along also learned so we could all communicate with our son. Our son is 8 years old now, and still going to speech therapy. He no longer needs sign language. We now have an almost 9 month old, and I thought…it’s time 🙂 Time to start teaching sign language to her.


  2. Baby sign language helped our son tremendously. We used more, milk, finished, help, please, and even bird. More and finished really helped at meal time. Help is a great one too. Stopping by from Mom it Forward

  3. This is awesome! So far my baby only uses the signs for “food”/”eat” and “more”. She’s nearly 14 months old now, and I haven’t tried to teach her any signs in a few months, so I’ll be trying “help” next.

  4. We didn’t teach my daughter any signs initially, but soon realized how much they help (especially when you can’t quite make out what they’re saying!). To this day, my daughter still uses “more,” “eat” and “all done.”

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