Advice and Tips

Baby Signing

Babies start communicating from the moment they are born using body language, facial expressions and verbal sounds

These methods eventually translate into recognisable verbal language, but until that time, it can be very difficult to understand what your child is trying to say to you. It is often assumed that it is a child’s frustrated efforts to communicate which lead to tantrums, tears or withdrawn behaviour.

 These methods eventually translate into recognisable verbal language, but until that time, it can be very difficult to understand what your child is trying to say to you. It is often assumed that it is a child’s frustrated efforts to communicate which lead to tantrums, tears or withdrawn behaviour. 

Research into communication dating back as far as the 70s suggest that children who are taught sign language from an early age can learn up to 70 signs by the time they are 9 months old. By contrast, a child of similar age would understand fewer than 10 words.

 

Sign with your Baby has been pioneered by Joseph Garcia who was initially interested in children of deaf friends who began to communicate with their parents at an earlier age than did children of hearing parents. It recommends the teaching of sign language from about 7 months as a kind of second language and it has been seen to improve levels of frustration in toddlers, particularly in the age bracket 17 ö 20 months, who are as yet unable to express themselves verbally.

 

Sign with your Baby works by the adult using a hand movement in association with a common activity such as eating. The baby soon associates the movement with the activity and begins to try to copy it. Receiving encouragement, the baby quickly learns the power of communication. It does not rely on a parent learning a whole new language; rather it teaches that even a few simple gestures can make a big difference.

 

The most common concern of parents who consider adopting a sign language is that a child might not feel the need to talk if their visual communication is sufficient. Research has indicated, however, that the reverse might be the case: signing babies tend to speak earlier and by the age of two they have a wider vocabulary than do their non-signing peers.

 

 Social interaction is crucial to a baby’s development and to withhold social responses to a child’s attempts to communicate is one of the most disruptive things that can happen during the infants learning process. Sign language is a powerful tool in developing a solid foundation for mutual understanding with your baby. 

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