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Signing With Babies And Children: Sign the Hurt Away

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sign the Hurt Away

Ouch! That hurt.

Do you just love that age where your little one is learning the joys of pulling, pushing, and hitting things? Yeah, I am all for watching my one year old hit two wooden toys together and find humor in the sound, pushing a ride-on toy around to see how fast he can walk behind it, and pulling his new friend, blanket, behind him every where he goes.

BUT what about the pulling of sister's hair, pushing (or more so throwing) down toys from the upstairs banister, or using both hand to hit brother's head? Not so joyful to watch, but indeed a time to teach through example.

My seven year old son was able to help me teach through example, although at first he was confused by the situation taking place:
My one year old hit me on top of the head with his sipper cup as I was holding him. That definitely hurt. Ouch! I took the cup and began to hit my own head a couple of times. I also hit his head lightly with it back (disclosure note: you may not want to try this at home. It's not full proof... It may resort to reassuring your child that hitting nevertheless hard or light, is okay^_^).

This back and forth pretend hitting continued while between each motion, I would make a hurt expression and say and sign "hurt." I found myself saying and signing at least five or six times before I put the sipper cup down and moved on with our evening.


It wasn't too long after that my youngest was pulling his sister's hair. That's when my seven year old taught by example as I watched him calmly say no, and then sign "hurt." He did this a couple of times.

Well, rest assure, signing "hurt" became a new trend by my children as well as my nieces and nephews (with a few cry out for help inbetween). And over a two week time period, the hitting, pushing, and pulling has more so resorted back to the toys.

Role playing a situation is a great way to help teach a sign or convey a meaning of a sign or word. This is also how I teach "hot." I pretend to touch the food that is hot and sign "hurt" and "hot." "Hurt" can be a great tool when your child is sick. You can ask, "where does it hurt" while signing "hurt" by your ear, mouth, tummy, or head.

Another word that often goes along with "hurt" that I have yet to teach to my youngest is "sorry."
I have a feeling that I haven't missed all opportunities on this one.^_^

Written by Shawna Tran (a mother of four)

1 comment:

noncommittal said...

I hope your head doesn't hurt too much from that run-in with the sippy cup!

Thank you for sharing your experience with me because I think that this story best illustrates the benefits of Baby Sign. It's true that many parents (mine included) expect that a child's first words are the most important, but there is a world of crucial information that we, as babies, learn before we are able to form words. It is great that your baby learned better play behavior, but I think it is amazing that his older sibling was also able to communicate and teach his little brother through the use of Baby Sign. This just shows that communication in a family can be possible even if one has yet to learn to speak verbally.

--Connie