It is surprising how early in life we begin to show personality traits. Some of us are exuberant, others gentle and a few of us are shy. Unfortunately sometimes what we perceive as shyness is simply the very first symptoms of social anxiety. Among other behaviors toddlers with social anxiety exhibit some of the following:
- Will not eat outside the home
- Will not potty outside the home
- Is verbal at home but has a hard time engaging with new people
- Does not play with other toddlers but plays with siblings
- Will not communicate needs or wants when placed in crowded settings or outside the home.
If you are facing these challenges with your toddler you may want to consider baby sign language as a means of assistive communication even when your baby is already verbal. You see, for those with anxiety it is always easier to mimic a movement than to use their voices. Quiet interactions can help your child overcome social barriers and eventually serve as the tool that facilitates engagement. This is particularly useful if you are attempting to incorporate your kid into a daycare setting and you are having issues related to stress induced by social contexts.
Work on Signs That Help Your Child Overcome Difficult Situations
If your little one is refusing to eat outside the home teach him a few signs to express preferences. More, all-done, hot, cold and their favorite foods are the best choices to get started.
Teach and Use a Sign For Comfort & Affirmation
Believe me you will need it for years to come. My friend Kathy tells me that even now that her boy is in 1st grade she uses the sign for I love you to convey affection without embarrassing him in public settings.
Communicate With Your Daycare Provider
It is essential that your daycare provider is on the same page and understands sign language. Setting the stage for your child to have easy access to their caregivers when in need of something basic will without a doubt help in making him or her feel secure.
If you have not yet started teaching your baby how to sign we invite you to take a look at our free resources or consider adding our award-winning baby sign language kits to your personal parenting library. You can find our baby sign language kits here.