Taking a class to learn some new signs, singing songs and meeting new moms is the new and hip thing that parents are doing today with their hearing babies. But why teach babies to sign? The main reason baby sign language has become so popular is because it decreases baby’s frustration and alleviates temper tantrums as they are able to communicate his/ her wants before using their spoken language. Instead of playing a guessing game and building your frustration level, imagine teaching your wee-one the signs for milk, more, finished, or sleep. Sign language is a fun gift you can give your child.Does sign language affect my baby’s language development? This is often the first asked question of curious parents. 100% absolutely not, studies have only shown that sign language will only accelerate the development of a child’s language. When signing with your baby make sure to continue talking to them so that they maintain a decent exposure to both the verbal and signed languages. Teaching baby’s sign language will help bridge the gap of communication until they are able to talk and provide them with a more extensive vocabulary. It is best to teach babies to sign between the ages of 6-12 months. Many babies are seen producing their first sign before their first birthday. Today, many daycares and preschools are taking on this fun way of communicating in their daily schedule because they are seeing the benefits from its use. Toddlers pick it up extremely fast, and they love singing their favourite songs with a few signs sprinkled throughout.There are many ways of learning some basic everyday signs to teach your baby. You’ll find plenty of full colour/descriptive books, a few videos; even Youtube can be your friend, along with some flashcards, and attending fabulous sign language classes. Making up signs is discouraged as it will not only confuse you and your baby, but what happens when you forget what sign you created for their favourite food? Stick with the American Sign Language, it’s already a beautiful language and if you happen to forget the sign it is easily within your reach to find it out again.
With the magic of sign language, you’re bound to hear less tears, see less food fly across the room, understand when you’re child is tired and learn something new along the way. What could be better than that?
Author: Jana McLean