Baby sign language
Could it work for you and your child?
If you have an infant you may not be looking forward to the temper tantrums that will soon come along. To help circumvent the communication barrier that often comes with the toddler tantrum stage, many parents have turned to sign language. Teaching sign language to babies not only has lasting benefits but has become an innovative way that parents are working to help their child get ahead.
Most programmes that teach sign language use everyday practical terms that relate to a baby’s life. The most common first terms usually include "milk", ;"more", "eat" and other words related to meals, bedtime and bathing. Additional first words may include "cat", "dog", "baby", "more", "mommy" and "daddy".
Toddlers often throw tantrums as a result of feeling frustrated because they are not able to verbally express themselves. Learning sign language as a baby is believed to help reduce tantrums because as toddlers, they have a way to communicate. Research has also shown that teaching sign language stimulates intellectual development.
"There is a significant percentage of children who speak earlier when their parents sign with them," explains Nancy Cadjan, president of Sign Babies. "And even those who speak at a normal rate have an easier time learning language and an increased vocabulary when they do begin speaking."
When babies have this ability to communicate their needs, it is also believed to increase their self-esteem and confidence and many believe that it strengthens the parent-child bond.
You should see results from your teaching efforts within a couple of months. But keep in mind that older babies will catch on faster. It’s recommended to start teaching your baby sign language around eight months, although some people do start at six months. Even if your baby is a year old or more it’s not too late to start teaching them.
If you would like to teach your baby sign language there are a variety of ways that you can get started. There are books, videos and websites that offer a plethora of information as well as links to online visual signing dictionaries.
Jacqueline Bodnar is a freelance writer living in Port Orange, Florida, USA. with her husband and two children.