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Posts Tagged ‘Early Childhood Communication’

If you have a young child, or grandchild, or even know what a child is, then you’ve most likely heard of signing with your baby.  Beyond being the latest trend in parenting, let’s delve deeper and answer the following questions about signing with your baby.

  1. I don’t know any signs, is it hard to learn?
  2. Is it too late to start signing with a toddler?  An older child?
  3. Does signing really work or is it merely the latest hype that will soon be last years news?

As with learning any new language, sign language may seem a bit daunting.  However, the beauty of signing with your baby is that you will see a benefit from learning even one sign.  Learn only 5 or 10 signs and you will unlock a tool that will enable your child to communicate without frustration.

Most experts agree you should start signing to your baby when they are 6 months old and that around 9 months they will begin to sign back to you.  When introducing sign language to your child, choose two or three signs whose words are commonly used during the course of your day, can be related to an object or desire/situation, and will most benefit you.  Most parents find that Milk, More, Bottle, Eat, or Done are good signs to start with.  Be on the lookout for any variation of the sign.  Children do not sign back to you exactly as you have signed to them.

Ah, the sweet sign of success!  You’ll never forget your child’s first sign, and you’ll be amazed by the way their signing abilities will grow in leaps and bounds once they understand how to communicate with you.  Toddlers and older children will pick up signing a lot faster than infants as they are insatiably driven to communicate, so don’t let the fact that you didn’t start signing with them earlier deter you.  When the light clicks that Mommy and Daddy can understand signs better than crying, they are off to the races and will often repeat signs after seeing them performed only once.

Signing will open doors to a whole new level of understanding between you and your child.  While other parents are struggling to figure out why Johnny is crying and frustrated, your child is vigorously signing Eat, Eat.  Instead of throwing food to the floor and screaming, your child is signing Done.  Gone are the days of filling a bottle with milk, then water, only to have it thrown on the floor because it wasn’t juice.  The possibilities are endless and if you continue to introduce new signs, communication with your child will benefit for years to come.

The bottom line is that sign language is a wonderful communication tool for you and your child.  It is easy to learn, easy to teach at any age, and because of its benefits will become a staple in childhood communication.  Research has also proven that children who sign begin speaking sooner than those who don’t.  So what are you waiting for?  Click a link below for some great resources, search on-line for yourself, or head to your nearest book store and start signing.

Links:

Michigan State University Searchable sign directory

Signing With Your Baby Great signing resources

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