What is baby signing and how does it work?
Baby signing is a technique of using sign language to help hearing babies communicate better, before they can talk. Some people think speech development can slow down if you teach your baby to sign but in fact, research shows that it can help children speak earlier than normal as well as reduce frustration and strengthen the bond between baby and parents.
When we talk, we naturally use gestures whilst communicating. How many times do you gesture “would you like a drink”? Babies naturally use gestures from a very young age, for example, asking to be picked up by raising their arms. One common sign that we teach is wanting food or eating, where you touch your closed mouth with the tips of your fingers, this is a very natural sign for your baby to learn because they put their fingers in their mouth when they are hungry. If you are out for a walk and you see a bird, you could open and close your index finger and thumb like a beak, saying the word “bird” when you sign. Signing is done alongside the word so babies can make a link between the word and gesture.
You can start baby signing with your child from the moment they are born but generally at about 6-9 months you might see them understand some signs and between 9-18 months children might start using signs and sounds to communicate. When your child starts to sign, their sign may not be as clear as the one that you are signing but being able to understand what they are trying to communicate is the key. The main thing is to reinforce the pattern by giving your child lots of praise.
You don’t need a special course to learn baby signing, there are books available, you can find information on the internet or you can see about any groups that are in your area, where you can meet other parents and have fun.
“time2sign” is a one such parent and child group, where we sing, sign and socialise. We have sessions on a Wednesday morning in St. Austell, where we sing familiar and original songs which makes baby signing easy and fun to do. We have a sign of the week, a sensory cool down and then tea and coffee, when you make friends.
You can find us on Facebook or visit our web page time2sign.webs.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly Harris (time2sign).
Tots About are giving away 3 copies of Alfie’s Magic Hat, Fun at the Zoo, signing book, the first of a longer series aimed at under 2’s from Sirenia Books.com A unique book which includes a range of signs that the adult reading the story can teach the child – the signs are on basic, fundamental themes, such as eating, drinking, playing and sleeping. Please like, share and give one comment about the magazine on our fb page to enter into the draw, entries close 31st Aug.