Baby Signing And How It Can Help Open Communication
Sign language was typically reserved for the deaf and those who communicate with them. Recently, baby signing has become a popular choice of communication for parents.
Quite often, before a child reaches two, it can be quite frustrating to communicate. The child does not typically have a full range of vocal communication to express what he or she needs. Parents often become frustrated when they do not know what their child needs. Even worse, if the child is hurt or does not feel well. This is where baby signing can help.
Improving Communication Skills
Research has shown that baby signing not only improves communication skills, but it can improve cognitive skills as well. Toddlers who learn and use sign language as babies, have a larger spoken vocabulary list than other toddlers. Recent research has shown that babies who sign score an average of 12 points higher on IQ tests than babies who do not sign. Babies who learned sign language are better readers when they enter kindergarten, according to recent studies.
Baby Signing Books
While there are many books dedicated to sign language, it is best to use books geared towards baby sign language. Keep in mind that babies are still learning motor skills, some advanced signs will be difficult to master. A book geared towards babies will only have signs that they can easily express.
When To Start Teaching Baby Sign Language
The best time to start teaching baby sign language is around eight months. Many parents will start to use sign language around six months, this way the baby will begin to recognize some signs. At eight months, most babies can use their hands well enough to sign back.
It is best to only start with one or two words, this way the baby will not be overwhelmed and reject the idea of signing. Pick a word that your child would use often. Some babies love extra food, ‘more’ would be a good first sign for them to use. Other babies like to drink plenty of juice and water, ‘drink’ would be a good sign for them.
Repetition Is Key
When you use the sign, use it repetitively. Sign and say the word together. Use the sign and word in different sentences. It may take several times before your baby is able to pick up on the sign, do not become discouraged. When they do attempt the sign, shower them with encouragement.
After your baby has mastered two signs, you can add one sign a week. Soon you will be on your way to communicating with your baby!