I remember when we brought Laila home, I kept wondering what she was thinking. What is going on in that pretty little head? While her eyes showed me the wonder of the new world around her, I just couldn’t wait to be able to “talk” to her. To hear her tell me what she wanted or needed.
I had heard about teaching your baby sign language while I was pregnant, but didn’t really look into it until I had my baby girl in my arms, and had the longing to communicate with her and for her to be able to do the same with us.
While communication is the biggest factor, it’s not only about that. There are so many great benefits to teaching your baby to sign.
Creates a stronger parental bond:
There is research that says that teaching your baby sign early on, creates a stronger parental bond. Here is some info on that. As a parent, it gives you an insight to what your baby is thinking.
It reduces crying and fussy behavior:
We definitely feel blessed to have a baby that is generally happy. But I do attribute some of it to the fact that there are things she can tell us she needs before having to get upset about it. When she’s sleepy or hungry, we know what she is trying to tell us before it turns into her crying, (sometimes she cries during the sign or is too tired to do it fully, but it still looks cute and at least we know!). Research also says that babies who know sign, later, have less temper tantrums. I will cross my fingers for that when she turns 2!
It enhances speech development:
I remember a family member asking me if it would stop Laila from talking. If you hear her baby babble now at 9.5 months, she is definitely a talker and it didn’t limit her one bit! Signing actually helps baby develop mentally so that it gives them a little stepping stone to speak fully, and also shows them what communication is about. The studies also say that a baby who have an early exposure to sign language have a larger speaking vocabulary earlier.
So you would think, how did I teach her a language I didn’t know myself?
I used tools like charts and videos. I wasn’t out to teach her to be fully fluent in sign language. It was the important, basic signs that would allow her to tell me what she couldn’t say out loud, like mom, dad, eat, sleep, milk, more, finished, etc. Check out this helpful post on the signs that matter.
I bought this awesome poster that I put in Laila’s room to refer to from www.babysignlanguage.com. There’s a self print PDF version, or the one that I bought from them that was large and laminated, (see pics above). It is so clear and has just the words you need, if not more! This company also makes books and other products that can aid in teaching.
We would also would watch this Baby Einstein video that is Laila’s favorite, (she loves the blue puppet), called My First Signs. I am not an advocate of watching TV or iPad videos too much, but once in awhile, especially for something educational like this, I think it’s fine. Plus, seeing how engaged and happy she is while learning and watching is so worth it.
What is your experience or thoughts on teaching sign language to your little one? Would love to hear below:)