Today’s article is a guest article from the BabySignLanguage.com website. Teaching your toddler some simple signs to use at nap time can be helpful, not only for communication, but also as a tool for quiet time when you have younger baby napping.
You may think you’ve done everything to prepare your toddler for the transition from being the only child to an older sibling. You may have even read a few books about being a sibling. You’ve discussed how busy mommy and daddy will be with the new little one, and explained how an older sibling can help with diaper changes and bottle feedings, but what about nap and bedtime routines? Your newborn is going to be sleeping, a lot. Have you defined big brother or sister’s outside voice, inside voice and nap-time voice?
It may sounds silly to think you’d need yet another setting on the volume control, but sometimes the inside voice is still a few decibels too loud for a sleeping newborn. Certainly, you can lay the new baby down in a separate room than the one your toddler is playing in or watching cartoons, but at some point toddler and baby are going to be together during baby’s nap. With even the sweetest intentions, your toddler can wish baby “sweet dreams” just loud enough that those dreams are interrupted.
Using sign language for babies to communicate with your toddler is one way to exercise a nap-time voice. Because let’s face it, a kid’s idea of a whisper can even be too loud. To help in the transition to nap-time voice, you can ask your toddler to help prepare baby for a nap. Some useful signs are:
Consider practicing this nap-time voice before baby arrives. Playing with a doll works well for soon-to-be older sisters, but a teddy bear or other stuffed animal can work well, too. Many times the play continues even after baby comes home. Big sister can feed her baby doll a bottle and put her down for a nap, right alongside mommy and the newborn.
Assigning tasks that toddlers can do on their own to help mommy or daddy gives that feeling of accomplishment and prestige of being the “BIG” brother or sister. With a few signs in your toddler’s tool belt, he or she can help by turning off lights and fetching a blanket. And since it is never too early to start fostering a love of a sibling teaching his baby brother or sister signs, encourage your toddler to sign “sleep” to the newborn. It won’t be long before you notice your children bonding through their own secret silent language.
With nifty free resources such as baby sign language flash cards and sign language for babies dictionary the team at Baby Sign Language is delighted to lend you a hand as you work towards incorporating baby signing to the lives of your little ones.
Other parts in the series:
Sibling Series, Part 1: Do You Have Another Baby After a Horrible Sleeper?
If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine or schedule, I encourage you to download our FREE guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes, or explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan® you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.