From the moment babies are born, they start to communicate by using sound and
natural gestures. Baby Sign Language exploits this natural ability of babies and uses sign language to encourage two-way communication between parents and babies, before the babies can talk.
Baby Sign has been steadily gaining in popularity worldwide and has many benefits to
both the parent and the child. As these benefits are becoming more widely recognized, more and more parents and childcare professionals are signing with their babies… so what is it all about and how can you get started?
The Deaf community has always signed with their children, so "baby sign" has always been around. But more recently people have started to discover the benefits of using baby sign with hearing babies.
Research has shown that by using baby sign language with hearing babies before they can talk, you can increase IQ, self-esteem, communication skills, parent/baby bonding, and decrease tantrums and frustration. With all these benefits, it's no wonder that baby signing is gaining popularity.
Baby sign language is based on adult sign language but with more flexibility so some signs are changed to make them easier for little hands to copy. Everyone can enjoy the benefits of baby sign as it is very easy to learn and fun to practice.
Many people are still weary of baby sign language because they think it is a fad or only for deaf children. Some people even think that by using signs you will somehow delay your baby's speech development. All of these misconceptions have been proven wrong by extensive research carried out in America. In actual fact using baby signs helps your baby develop communication skills and speech earlier that non-signing babies.
Just think – babies start to communicate from birth. They start by using eye contact and facial expressions and as they gain more control over their bodies they may wave or clap hands.
By about 6 months your baby will have developed the motor skills needed to make signs, by 7-8 months your baby's memory will have developed enough to use the signs consistently. However, your baby's vocal muscles will not have developed enough for comprehensible speech until about 18-24 months old! That means you could have been communicating with your baby a whole 18 months earlier!
• You can start signing with your baby at any age – some parents start from birth. A good time to start is around 5 months.
• Your baby will probably sign back between 6-8 months, when his memory will have developed enough to store and use the signs regularly
• Babies need 4-6 weeks to learn their first signs and to start to copy them back to you, so you will need to be patient.
• Once a baby has learned his first signs, he will learn the next ones more quickly.
• Baby signing does not delay speech – quite the opposite has been proven to be true.
• By signing with your baby you are giving him the very best start in life, by giving him tools that allow him to communicate his needs to you without unnecessary crying and frustration.
HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE PROVEN BENEFITS THAT BABY SIGNING CAN BRING:
• Increase your baby's IQ
• Improve your baby's language and communication skills
• Strengthen your parent/baby bond
• Reduce tantrums and frustration
• Build your baby's self-confidence and self-esteem