Toddlers about one year old or slightly older still have difficulty talking, although they love “talking” to you. Aside from their “Mama” or “Dada” (most of their first “words” begin with letter “M” and followed by vowels “A” or “I”), their means of communication are often hand or arm gestures, facial expressions, movement, emotions, or all of the above. Well, crying and smiling are their favorites among the sign language for babies, of course.

But all the means of communication above are founded on emotions. Toddlers send out messages by expressing their emotions and adults can better relate to them by also expressing emotions. So, watch out for your kid’s communication gestures. Remember, kids need attention and among the most frustrating things that can happen to them is to be neglected or misunderstood. Here are some tips on reading their signals better:


Cries are basically of four types:

  • Regular cry. Babies do this when they are a bit hungry, thirsty or bored. They either want food, water, or a change of scenery.
  • Angry cry. This is due to intense hunger, thirst, or frustration as when it is past feeding time and they haven’t eaten yet. Or, when they so eagerly desire to grab something and it is withheld from them.
  • Cry of pain. When babies are in physical pain, crying is the immediate and last resort. This cry is often done with some periods of breath-holding which sometimes can be alarming.
  • Faking cry. This is the type of cry babies do simply to get some attention.


Clapping or waving the hands is a show of happiness, excitement, and approval. It may sometimes be a substitute for laughing and may mean the baby wants more of what they are currently enjoying. [INPOSTLB]

Pointing Finger

A pointing finger can be a gesture of direction where babies want to go to. Or, it may be an expression that indicates what they wants or what they are wondering about, as if saying, “What is that?” The proper response should be to also point at the thing and say its name aloud.

Moaning or Humming

Babies moan or hum to get your attention, wonder, or discovery. For instance, if they observe something and discover a new thing, like watching a butterfly on a flower and seeing it fly away, they may moan or hum to attract your attention and tell you what they just discovered. The proper reply is to hum back and look at what they are looking at. Imitating the baby’s moans or hums when excited can mean a lot to them.


Whining means the baby is showing discontentment and wants some consideration. It’s either you give in to the complaint, if it won’t harm the kid, or you try to distract the kid’s attention using another object of interest.

Try to understand the sign language for babies and other gestures better. It will make for a better parent-child relationship.