The basics of baby sign language
Start communicating with your baby with sign language to bond faster and give your bundle of joy a great start in his or her language development!
Why teach your newborn sign language if he or she does not have any hearing impairment? Apart from the obvious reason that it accelerates communication between you and your baby, studies on the long-term impact of symbolic gesturing during infancy conducted by Acredolo, L. P., & Goodwyn, S.W. in July 2000 whose paper was presented at the meetings of the International Society for Infant Studies, Brighton, UK, show that the IQ of the child may increase up to 10% more than a child who does not use sign language.
Scientific findings aside, it's important to make teaching sign language to your baby fun, as with any other lessons or teachings that you want to impart to your child. It's all about developing your relationship with this new person in your family in order to create a strong bond of love, communication and understanding.
To start off, you can visit this interesting American website on baby sign language. http://www.babies-and-sign-language.com/
It has a free baby sign language glossary with step by step photos to help you sign simple words like "full", "bath", "milk", "stop", "sleep" and many more.
Here's the direct link: http://www.babies-and-sign-language.com/glossary-photos.html
Remember not to get too stressed and overwhelmed with the voluminous vocabulary of sign language. The key thing is to start with a simple commonly used words every day. Vocalize the word while signing and keep repeating it. If your baby is not interested in the beginning, do not give up hope. Just keep trying. Be patient as your baby is learning a new thing and needs time to adopt it. Do praise your baby with lots of kisses and hugs when he or she tries to sign the word following you. Above all, keep it fun and light hearted. You're not preparing your baby for the PSLE!
And for your personal enjoyment, here's a very cute and entertaining video from You Tube titled "Signing Time with Molly" which is about 5 minutes long. It's amazing to see how many words Molly can sign and she looks like she's really enjoying herself while doing it.
Baby sign language is not the only nor is it the best way to develop your child's language skills. It's just a method of communication when your baby hasn't found his or her voice yet. What's more important is to realise that you are nurturing your baby to learn a new skill. As a result, your baby will have a fun, loving and thoroughly stimulated environment to grow up in!
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