Most people with a baby want to know one thing: what is my baby thinking? Most babies do not start speaking their first five words until 18 months of age. That means the average person has to wait a year and a half until their baby can express any ideas of their own. A lot of parents get frustrated listening to their baby’s constant wails and grunts to signal what they might want. Then you are stuck saying, “you want this? No, well, how about this?” There is a solution to this problem, and it just requires only a little effort- sign language.
This is a picture of my son at 11 months doing his best to sign “pumpkin.”
While American Sign Language is the first language for the hearing impaired, it is possible to teach your baby to “speak” using ASL by as early as 6 months of age. My son’s primary care physician actually recommended it to us. It is becoming increasingly popular; some daycare centers and preschools are even offering to teach sign language to babies and toddlers. It is just as easy as teaching your baby to wave hello/goodbye, and how to blow a kiss. Babies are very interested in telling you about what makes them excited.
There are many benefits to teaching your babies to sign. Some benefits include: their IQ is generally 12 points higher than non-signing toddlers, they end up speaking earlier than non-signing babies, and they often get better grades in school. Signing early also encourages brain growth and understanding connections between an object and how to communicate about that object to someone. A lot of people who have done signing report fewer tantrums. I would say that is true; some situations like wanting more food, can just be signed for, instead of screaming.
I could write a book about this subject, but I could narrow down my suggestions to four things.
Don’t Just Wing It
My first suggestion is: definitely purchase the entire set. I thought I could wait to get the
Don’t Force It
Second, (and this should come at no surprise) you can’t pick what your baby will want to sign back to you. What they communicate is generally what they are interested in.
I tried to make my baby’s first sign “book.” He decided he wanted to talk about “fans,” instead. I am a cat person, but he wanted to sign
Keep Reading & Use Books
Third, you should also be reading and signing with the books as often as possible. Babies first
Get Others Involved
Fourth, get other involved in signing with your baby. By 12 months old, my son could identify 20 different animals and many other signs because everyone in his immediate surroundings learned the signs and used them to communicate with him as often as possible. I think it’s critical to get other adults and older children involved to help the baby understand that you are all using signs to communicate. It is the same as being consistent with any discipline: its a team effort.
Find out more about baby sign language at babysignlanguage.com.
You are in luck because the Ultra Baby Sign Language Kit, which is normally priced at $200.00 and it is on a huge discount for only $119.99!!!!
I love the Signing Time DVDs; we also watch her songs on YouTube. She has since made a YouTube series called TreeSchoolers; my entire family loves it. Even adults learn something when they watch her.
Hurry to get it in time for Christmas! This also makes a great baby shower gift too for moms to be!