When babies are born their only source of communication is through crying.  They cry because they are tired, hungry, dirty, in pain, and want to be comforted.

Hence, babies learn that the world revolves around them.  Moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers in general are at the babies side within seconds of hearing them cry.

Crying is what allows babies to survive.  It is vital for babies otherwise they would not get their basic needs met and would in turn become “failure to survive”.

And boy do they have lungs!   Infants have different cries.  Moms can hear the different cries within a month of their babies birth.  In fact, some people have a better ear for children’s cries…

I get really annoyed when I go to the mall and hear a baby desperately crying because they are worn out and tired.  I just want to go up to that Mom and tell her to take the baby home…  There is plenty of time for shopping… the stores aren’t going anywhere and the clothes will be here tomorrow…

As infants grow, their communication changes as well.  They still cry but now they use gestures, smiles, looks, tugs, and eye gaze to communicate.

Crying is still equally as important for communication.  They let us know when they are hungry, tired, upset, or in pain through crying… We know when they are scared through their wimpers or screams.

Crying can be decreased or maybe even prevented if we keep in mind situations which will set our little darlings off.   For example, keep in mind naptimes and mealtimes when planning your day.  People who are tired and hungry become polar bears very easily and they have rationalization skills.

Our little children cannot rationalize… they just need to eat or sleep or whatever…And if their need is satisfied, their mood usually changes within seconds.

Also, boredom can be real source of crying and temper tantrums and for negative attention seeking behavior.

Routines are important and I believe in them… but remember that routines do not mean rigid.  Routines mean flexibility.

Add new activities, rotate toys every 3 months or so, and be creative with your child’s day.

Practice dancing, cooking, reading, etc.  You can go on imaginary walks.  Put them to work and let them help with housework… They love to help at this age.

Be sure to talk to them and teach them how to communicate through your example of telling, asking questions, and answering questions throughout the day.  You can ask them to tell their siblings or dad what they did earlier in the day to encourage them to communicate and take turns in discussions.

As your infants become toddlers, their crying and whining can become intolerable and make you feel desperate and anxious.  This is a sign that infants are growing and maturing.

Although, all of us as parents would rather satisfy their desire or need to stop the crying.  Sometimes it is important to have willpower and let your child cry it out…

When toddlers become frustrated or mad, they cry and scream and may go through a temper tantrum.  This is the time when toddlers are learning self calm and regulate their behaviors.

They do not have the language or the cognitive functions to explain and understand what they are feeling at the time.  So they cry.   It is important for toddlers to experience this frustration and anger to learn how to deal with those strong emotions in an appropriate way.

Your goal is to set your child up for success in their life… This means teaching them that life is not always fair and it sure doesn’t revolve around them.

It may be cute as a young child for them to think they are the center of the universe but as they grow and mature they aren’t cute anymore.  They become impolite and spoiled…  At least, that’s what our society leads us to believe.

Therefore, patience and waiting are two good things for our little darlings to learn…

However, sometimes toddlers cry out of frustration due to their mom’s decreasing ability to guess what they want or need.  This is an important moment to  begin observing your child’s speech and language skills.

By 24 months, your child should be using at least 50 words and simple phrases such as “more, milk” or “mommy, come”.   They should be using more words than gestures to communicate.  If your child consistently points and/or leads you to his desired needs, then it may be wise to encourage your child to use words.

This can be done by offering two choices (instead of asking a yes/no question (do you want milk?); say juice or milk?).   Remember to name everything in their environment including actions, objects, feelings, and so on.

If your child still does not seem to pick on the words regularly or does not begin to imitate words.  It might be wise to have your child evaluated by a speech and language pathologist.

Keep in mind that you need to teach your child before you expect them to respond.  That includes new routines, imitation, discipline.

Teach before you discipline.  Toddlers are still learning they haven’t yet learned.

I cannot stress enough the importance of early intervention.  The younger the child (as young as 18 months) the more likely you will see big changes in their communication if they receive the help they need for speech language pathologists.

Frustrations, behavior issues, and communication skills will improve significantly once your child can communicate his wants and needs.  Remember it’s not just about using words, it is also about how well your child can be understood.

If your child is trying to use words and no one understands him, it is likely to increase his frustration and may lead your child to limit the use of words in his communication.

What would you feel if every time you tried to say something no one understood you?   I would be like “this is for the birds… why should I even try?”

In general, the first sounds produced correctly are p, m, b, t, d, k, and g.

Parents should be able to understand what their child says:

50-75% at 24 months  and 75-100% at 36 months.

Strangers should be able to understand what your child says:

>50% at 24 months and >75% at 36  months.

So if your child is not able to produce those sounds or is not easily understood, you may want to look into a speech and language evaluation.

Remember that crying has it’s place in communication.   Most importantly assess your child’s crying and moods to determine the cause and prevent triggers.

There is a function to every behavior.

The goal is to find out what that function is in order to improve communication skills with your child and teach them the appropriate way to express their emotions.

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