Baby Sign Language
I have taught my 3 children baby sign language and it has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Baby sign language is easy to teach, as long as you are consistent and clear babies eventually catch on
I started teaching my daughter Baby Sign Language when she was 8 months old. I started with just a couple of signs of words that we used on a daily basis. At 10 months she was able to do the sign for milk - it was truly incredible to have her communicate her wishes at such a young age.
But it was really between 11 and 12 months that her signing really took off, at this age babies seem to absorb so much and learn so quickly. Once she comprehended that actions could communicate what she wanted she seemed to want to learn more and more signs. Learn Baby Sign Language Now!
At 12 months of age she has a vocabulary of 12 signs, some of which she also says the word (or the first syllable of the word). Her signs include More, Milk, Eat, Sleep, Diaper, Ball, Dog, Finish, Drink, Duck, Bath and Head. These words have helped so much, if she is crying or clingy and I do not know what is wrong I ask her to show me with her hands and she will show me that she wants to eat or needs her diaper changed.
The best thing is that any baby can be taught baby sign language, it is simple and easy. It does take a bit of persistence on the part of the parent at the beginning, but once your child gets his or hers first sign all that effort is worth it 10 fold. When you have a second or third child, teaching baby sign language gets easier as the older siblings can help teach the signs, they also love being able to communicate this way with a their baby sibling.
I had a similar experience doing Baby Sign Language with my older son, he was able to communicate his needs at a similar age. At 13 months he was able to sign 'help' and 'hurt' which was a big help to reduce his frustration. It was a smooth transition for him from signs to words. Baby sign language definitely helped him to communicate what he wanted, it reduce family frustration and assisted with learning language.
If you are still hesitant about teaching your baby sign language, think about how many 10, 11 or 12 month old babies can easily wave when you say bye bye, or clap when you say clap. Baby sign language is just an extention of actions like this, it is just teaching simple actions for commonly used words that your baby can use to communicate with you.
More About Baby Sign Language
From 8 months of age babies do not have the ability to speak but can start to understand much of what is being said. Babies at this age can easily be taught to use gestures as a way of communicating. Baby sign language teaches babies a collection of easy to remember and simple gestures to use as a way of communicating.
Research has shown that teaching your baby sign language delivers the following benefits:
- Helps babies talk sooner
- Develops larger vocabularies and helps babies understand more words
- Reduces tantrums, tears and frustration
- Helps improve intellectual development
- Encourages greater interest in books and pretend play at an early age
- Enriches bond with parents, siblings and carers
- Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
- Increases communication and learning at a very early age
Signing does not interfere with your baby’s speech or language development; it actually encourages babies to speak sooner and assists to develop a large vocabulary. Once a baby starts verbalizing words he will still find signing useful for those words that are more difficult. You can start teaching baby sign language at any age, even if your child has started saying some words already. Babies up to the age of 2 ½ years can benefit from signing.
To start baby sign language you do not need to attend a course or have any prior knowledge of signing. Baby sign language is designed to be simple and fun and easily learnt by parents to build into their everyday life as a way of communicating with their baby. To start signing with your baby all you need is an illustrated book listing the available signs. Pick a couple of words that you use daily and start to sign that word every time you say it. Make sure your baby can see your hands when you are signing and ensure that you are consistent. Depending on the baby’s age it may take several weeks before your baby signs back to you but when she does it will all be worth it.
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