10 Things You Need To Know About Baby Sign Language
by Misty Weaver
Chief Editor, Baby Sign Language
Baby sign language is fun, it’s free – and it works! Read on for the top ten things you absolutely must know about baby sign language...
1.Signing To Your Baby Helps With Bonding Baby signing is a two-way activity, encouraging communication from baby to parent and back again. Mothers who sign with their babies often feel closer to them, noticing and appreciating their efforts at communication earlier than non-signing moms. Many early-years programs teach Baby Sign Language to moms and babies to help build communication and trust.
2.You Can Start To Sign From Birth The sooner you start signing to your baby, the sooner he will begin to communicate his needs back to you. You can start at any time, even from birth. Start signing with your baby by learning a handful of signs, such as Mommy, Daddy, Milk and Diaper. Find more useful starter signs here.
3.Children Who Learn To Sign As Babies Often Learn To Speak Earlier Baby signing can act as a ‘stepping stone’ to full speech, supporting a young child’s efforts to express themselves. Research has shown that babies who have early exposure to signing often have bigger speaking vocabularies later on.
4.Baby Sign Language Is A Simplified Version Of ASL
American Sign Language is one of the most widely used sign languages in the world – and baby signing is a great first step to learning what is, effectively, another language. Children who can sign are more sensitive communicators when they meet non-talking or non-hearing children.
5.Baby Signing Is For The Whole Family Often dads and grandparents feel left out when bringing up a young baby, especially if Mom is breastfeeding. Signing is something baby and daddy, or baby and grandparents, can do together, creating a special bond. All the family can get involved – the more people signing to baby the quicker she will learn.
6. Baby Signing Is Fun! So many things these days are just plain hard work! Baby signing is fun – and that’s one of the reasons it works so well. At first your baby will just look at you making signs and may even smile or laugh. You may feel silly too. This is good for you and for baby. Parenthood should have as many light moments as possible.
7.Flash Cards Are A Great Learning Aid Baby Sign Language Flash Cards are a valuable teaching aid to help you develop the signing vocabulary of your baby. Flash cards work because they are a visual stimulus for you and baby, and create extra interest in the idea or object you are signing.
8.Signing Reduces Tantrums A great reason for learning Baby Sign Language – baby signing has been proved to reduce frustration (for babies and for parents), and help children through those toddler-tantrum years. Most tantrums are caused by communication frustration, and if your child can express what he wants he is happier and calmer – and so are you!
9.Your Friends Will Be Envious When you and baby are out for coffee, imagine how envious your friends will be when baby tells you she’s tired, or hungry, or too hot – just by making hand gestures? Amazing! While other moms struggle through the baby years, you and your baby will be communicating happily with each other. Be sure to share your knowledge with them!
10.Signing Is Great For Twins When you have twins, or multiple babies, signing is a great way to give attention and encourage communication. Because you have a ready-made ‘group’, it is also much easier for them to learn the signs.