Monday, 22 July 2013

Should you teach your baby to sign?

When Lily (2) was only a few months old, I stumbled across this clip on youtube. The clip is of 1 year old Fireese and her Mum communicating with baby sign language. My mind was blown. Do you mean your baby can speak to you before they have language skills? This is Amazing. Why doesn't everyone do this? I had a LOT of questions ( as I always do).  What was this baby sign language?  How does a baby  learn to sign? And more importantly, how could I learn it?  I set off a quest to find out everything I could. I googled, watched & read anything related to baby signing. I asked all of my Mummy friends, have you heard of this baby sign language? I think most thought I had gone a bit nuts.  My baby is smart I thought, surely we could do this!  I taught myself a few signs and then set about teaching them to Lily.  She learnt one sign incredibly quickly and used it all the time (and still does 2 years later!). The sign was " finished". It was brilliant. She could tell me when she had had enough sleep or food. She could tell me when she wanted to get out of the bath or if she wanted to go home. Just with this one simple sign!  She started using it at about 18 months. Even though it was seriously cool to be able to understand her, and made life a lot easier, I was not committed to teaching her to sign, so she only ended up with the one.

However, I was determined to do it better next time. I researched the signs I wanted to introduce and taught 10 of them to Lily in a day! Those little toddlers are freaky sponges. She now helps me teach Charlie ( 9 months) the new signs every day. I have been using them with him for around 3  months, and he has learnt 2 so far. ( Daddy & More, such a boy)  He gets so excited when he uses them & can see that I understand him. It is an on going process and I will have to be committed to using them in my language with Charlie every day. But I know the reward is going to be worth it!   If you are interested & have a billion questions like I did, reading this article might help.

If you can teach your bub to clap and wave, then you have already started! All you need to do is make the sign every time you say the word and they will do the rest. Just be consistent and patient and it will happen. The first time your baby signs back to you will make it all worth it!

Should you teach your baby to sign? Well, that is entirely up to you. Babies can sign well before they can speak.  Research show's it has no hindrance on your child's verbal skills & I can tell you, Lily is a little chatter box!

Have you had any experience with Baby Sign Language? We would love to hear from you.

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