What is baby sign language?
Babies have so many more capabilities than we often give them credit for. Baby Sign Language is a communication tool you can use with your baby before they even learn how to speak. Real American Sign Language vocabulary is signed along with the spoken language you are already using with your child. Babies naturally communicate with gestures & when you think about it, all babies are taught some form of sign language. Have you ever seen a baby wave goodbye or clap their hands? All 3 of my kiddos have been signing since they were around 6 months old! I love sharing our baby sign language story!
Why should you sign with your baby?
There are so many benefits to signing with your baby, not to mention the fact that it is adorable seeing a tiny baby tell you exactly what they want at such a young age. Teaching American Sign Language vocabulary to little ones has been backed by over 25 years of research!
Here are some facts about baby sign language that I believe are worth mentioning:
• It promotes brain growth! Signing uses both sides of the brain & is multisensory! (Baby SEES the sign, HEARS the spoken word & MOVES to illicit a response from mom or dad all at the same time!) It’s amazing to think of how much learning is happening every time a baby signs. Even before they begin signing back to you, just watching you speak & sign to them, gives them a huge developmental boost!
• Researchers Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn, studied children who signed as babies & followed them all the way through elementary school. Their IQ scores were, on average, 12 points higher than their non-signing peers.
• Signing tends to increase the bond between parents & children. There is a lot of face-to-face communication happening! In order to sign, you have to look at each other. Unfortunately, many parents today, spend a lot of time looking down at their cell phones, rather than looking directly into their child's eyes!
• Babies become active participants of story time when you sign with your little one! They aren't passively sitting there listening. They are moving their bodies & telling you what they are seeing on the pages. If you aren’t reading daily with your baby, I highly suggest you start incorporating reading into your baby's daily routine!
• Signing gives children an alternate way of expressing themselves. We all love toddlers who throw tantrums right? No thank you! When a toddler is learning how to speak, oftentimes their words sound the same. For example, my youngest, when she first started to talk, her words were difficult to distinguish. The sound “Ba” meant BOOK, BABY, BALL, BEAR…What does this kid want?! Come on! Tell me you aren’t THAT MOM that points at everything when their toddler is throwing a tantrum in desperation trying to figure out what they want! I know…more coffee please.
How to sign with your baby?
There are many books/videos out there on baby sign language but I know as a busy mom, it's hard to add another thing to the list of things to do! I've been teaching baby sign language to my own children and via my baby sign language classes. I've compiled a list of the frequently asked questions that I've encountered from new moms regarding baby sign language.