Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Terrific twos, threes and fours

Looking back, I KNOW that we skipped the terrible twos and we are still avoiding the terrible threes. Don't get me wrong, we have had a tantrums and struggles, but the terrible "every things" have been avoided.

I am hardly bragging, as I know that it still might happen, especially with the new baby coming in about 8 more weeks (plus or minus two!).

I DO want to share with my friends of children that are nearing their twos that one of the things that I believe is that communication is key. I know that this sounds trite, but teaching your children to communicate with you, at a VERY young age will help to lessen the tantrums.

At a very young age Daisy was communicating with me (and NO I am not one of those parents that guesses until I get it right, either).

As many "Davis" parents I started off with baby signs with Daisy at a very young age (it was hard not too, as one of the researchers and authors of this topic lives and works in our community).   We started with the basic needs (eat, done, milk) at about 5 months.

Soon after, she was saying those words on her own.  As you will read in the book, that the key is to begin asking them to sign back, instead of anticipating their needs.  As you feed them, for instance, saying "more" and signing it, and then asking for them to ASK for more.  They will GET it very quickly!

In addition to baby signs, it is important to talk to your babies all day long.  I know that it sounds strange, but actually narrating everything that is going on, is the perfect way to do teach vocabulary.

Be careful to vary your verbiage as well.  Think about the daily routines that you do and what you explain to your child each day. Now, each day add a new word into the context of the situation that they can start to pick up.   Try "dispose of trash" instead of "throw trash away", or "munch, chop and chew" instead of "eat" food.  Obviously, the options are endless.  This concept can be applied throughout their lives.  (This evening, as we waiting for dinner to finish up, Daisy and I were reading a version of Goldilocks, and Baby Bear, used the word ravenous to explain how hungry he was.  I EXPLICITLY taught her her this word, instead of letting her just "absorb it."   I said, "Look there is another word for hungry, ravenous.  Let's tell Daddy that we are hungry but let's use ravenous, instead."  We then stopped and turned to him and each complained about our empty tummies and how ravenously hungry we were. 

Researchers of vocabulary development have determined that homes where parents talk to their kids at the dinner table and read to them on a regular basis have been exposed to a much greater vocabulary than those that do not do those things.  There is also a strong correlation between parents' education and the child's success in school, specifically reading. Looking toward the future, the poorest readers in classrooms are those with the most limited vocabularies. (take a look at the research on this website if you are interested in more info:
Young children who can express their needs to their caregivers are often less stressed and less frustrated.   These children seem to understand the world around them, as well as reasoning.  Reasons why we do not act certain ways, reasons why things are, the way they are.

I just wrapped up a quick conversation with Daisy this evening.  As she has gotten older, things such as bed time have gotten easier.  I told her it was time to get ready, and she used the classic, "but I am having fun playing right now," excuse.  I reminded her that she does not want to be tired for preschool tomorrow, to which she shrugged and said, "you are right, I am going to go get ready now."  DONE!    Communication, and the ability to understand and comprehend are keys to easier parenting.

Mommy reading to Daisy at 3 days old!
So add reading to your child, to that list of daily to dos!  It really helps to make it a part of the routine.  In our family daddy and mommy each read a story to Daisy before bed.  (I will offer great techniques to help your child be ready to BECOME a reader in upcoming blogs).


  1. Thanks for sharing, Kali. We sign with Rylan and it is so amazing how quickly he picks up new words. His first sign was "milk" which we use for nurse and he even signs it in his sleep. There are a couple signs that we have maybe shown him once or twice and he picked them up right away! He now knows at probably around 15-20 signs ... such a great way for the pre-talker to communicate.

  2. Carissa- I totally agree how invaluable it is for little ones to be able to communicate with us before they are able to actually verbalize! : )