Baby Signing Basics: A simple guide for parents
More communication, less tantrums
You might have heard of baby signing as a way for babies to communicate effectively before they can talk properly. But how do you teach your own little to one to baby sign, and what are some common baby sign language hand-signs that you can teach? Let’s find out.
What is Baby Signing?
Baby Signing lets babies as young as six months old, communicate their needs via sign language. It empowers your baby to be understood and gives them a language in which they can communicate in before they actually learn to speak.
This is especially useful in toddler-hood when they are just starting to speak. Most times the frustration runs both ways: the toddlers are trying to get their parents to understand what they want, but on the flip side parents are finding it hard to guess what their toddlers are actually saying. By teaching them common baby sign language hand-signs, you’re actually empowering their communication and reducing tantrums.
Why Baby signing?
I taught both daughters to sign from as early as eight months, but they only started actively signing back 10 months onward.
Why then do I teach common baby sign language when my kids are not deaf? Honestly, I just view signing as an added skill to have, and not limited only to people who are hard of hearing. American Sign Language (ASL) is just another language to learn really.
Signing is extremely useful because it allows me to communicate and meet the needs of my children. Through common baby sign language they could tell me what they needed every time, which resulted in less temper tantrums.
They could freely express themselves. Signing gave them a “voice”. It may start off without much, but when they start to respond using signs, you will be amazed at what they can “tell” you.
Another thing I love, is that we could sign from across the room without shouting, and even my husband is in on the deal.
I would sign to him at a dinner party for instance, if I needed another drink without having to be physically beside him to tell him so.
When my second daughter came along, my eldest became my “long distance baby monitor cum translator cum informant”, relaying in real time from inside the playpen what her sister needed whenever I was in the kitchen prepping meals. I mean how cool is that!?
Once, we even met a deaf lady who was manning a booth at Amcorp Mall. She noticed my eldest daughter taking an interest in a shirt that finger spelled the entire alphabet.
When she came around to greet us, she was pleasantly surprised to see my eldest already copying all the finger spelling on the shirt. We actually connected on common ground and it was a very amazing feeling, mutually.
Even with our very limited vocabulary, we managed to tell her a bit about ourselves and she was most excited signing with the kids. I would never forget the look on that lady’s face when she saw my kids signing back.
Benefits of Baby Signing: Summary
- Practical: less fussing and more fun.
- Emotional: creates a closer parental bond.
- Cognitive: boosts brain development.
Some Basic Common Baby Sign Language
#5 More (food for example)
#7 Thank you
Other Useful Signs to teach
Does it Really Work?
Yes, I totally champion teaching your babies to sign. Really? A baby can do this? Yes.This is a home video of us when she was just 11 months. See for yourself, if you can bear my annoying squeaky voice in the background.
For More Info check Signing Time Academy for a local instructor near you!
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Malaysia
Also read: Baby sign language: A guide