Last weekend, my hubby and I stumbled upon a very small cafe in Little Falls, Minnesota and decided to go there for breakfast. When we walked in, every table was taken. We stood there for a moment when a grandma and her adorable 21 month old granddaughter invited us to join them at their table. We were grateful for their offer. We learned in this encounter that a gesture for young children became prevalent during the pandemic.
Well, the breakfast was AMAZING but took a while to get. With a small, packed cafe, being in a hurry is not an option or even appropriate. Just sit back, observe, and relax. That also gave us more time to spend with this lovely pair. I wish I could share a photo, but I’m very careful to not share photos of young children. You just have to imagine the most adorable little one ever! 🙂
Gestures are a magical thing
Little R was very interactive and communicated verbally and gesturally, not just with her grandma, but with us as well. She was waving, pointing, and showing off her food. As time went on, though, Grandma asked her a question that especially perked her up. “Do you want to do Knuckles?” she said. Little R smiled and held her fist out for grandma. She then shared her fist with my hubby, then with me, then with my hubby, then with me, then with my hubby, then with me…… You get the idea. She LOVES KNUCKLES!
Did the pandemic give us the gift of Knuckles?
I immediately thought about covid and how we lost the chances to hug each other and shake hands. We often resorted to knuckles. We learned that a perfect gesture for young children became prevalent during the pandemic. Perhaps Knuckles is one of the gifts of covid. This little girl was simply adorable and initiated Knuckles with everyone in the cafe.
Do you need help with gestures?
With your young children or clients, never underestimate the power of gestures. They are the greatest predictors of normal speech and language skills as children get older. Perhaps look at 16 gestures by 16 months on the First Words Project site. They have an extensive list of gestures typically expected by 16 months of age.
Some other resources for you
Knuckles and Cheers (another favorite of mine) are two gestures that I find are excellent to encourage parents to teach their kids. They promote a social connection. Other motor movements would also be great to encourage. Our songs are especially good for encouraging gesture development as well as speech. Try our Set 1, Imitation Exploration as a resource to promote. Another resource on our website is a page using yoga to encourage motor movement and much more.