Friday, January 7, 2011
Teaching Baby to Sign
One of the greatest frustrations for parents of infants and toddlers is the lack of ability for their child to communicate. By teaching your baby to sign, they can begin to tell you what they want at a much younger age. I saw this demonstrated when I was about 12 years old with a young cousin and, from that point on, decided I would teach my children to sign also. My cousin was able to tell us when he wanted to eat and even would sign 'please' and 'thank you'. Manners at a young age never hurt anything! Signing with your child allows them to let you know what they are thinking and wanting without you having to play a guessing game. It reduces frustration (both parent and child), reinforces developing language skills, and teaches your baby to participate in conversation at an early age.
When Buddy was about three months old, I bought the Sign, Sing, and Play Kit and set out on the adventure of signing. I signed for everything, trees, birds, trains, etc. Buddy finally began signing back around nine months and he quickly began to use his signs daily. He kept to the basics like 'more', 'please', 'eat' and 'thank you'. Baby Einstein -Baby Wordsworth Around the House taught him more signs and reemphasized the ones that we were already doing. In fact, now that we are teaching Sweetpea, he joins right in signing along with me.
I have been signing to Sweetpea since she came home but have focused the signs to the more functional ones. I was pleasantly surprised today when Sweetpea used her first sign at lunch. She signed "more" when I was a little slow in producing a bite of baby food. It was really encouraging to see her be able to clearly communicate instead of fussing. Hopefully this is just the start and she'll take off!
If you are interested in teaching your baby to sign, there are a lot of resources out there to choose from. TheParentingSite.Com has a list of benefits of signing with hearing babies and has tips on getting started. I recommend finding the resources that work for you and dive right in with your baby!