My Signing Tot...
|Graeme signing "elephant"|
My son will be 20 months April 18th. Since he was a mere 8 weeks old, I have incorporated sign language into his every day life. He can now sign about 30 words! It is Graeme's main mode of communication, as he currently verbalizes about 10 words.
It all began at my baby shower June 2013. A dear friend that I graduated high school with attended with her toddler daughter. They sat at the table & my mother & I witnessed the most incredible thing! Her toddler was signing to her, with big grins & excited fingers. Pointing out the window & signing "bird," I immediately decided that this was something I would like to try with my unborn son!
My mother, immediately went onto Amazon & purchased this book for me: Baby Sign Language Basics: Early Communication for Hearing Babies and Toddlers
This lovely book is filled with valuable information from, what is sign language for hearing infants & toddlers, benefits, frequently asked questions, when to start, how to sign, choosing your first signs, strategies, mistakes, singing &signing & 300 pictorial signs, plus so much more.
My favorite portion of this book, is Chapter 3: The Benefits; here's a little run down:
- Signing enables early communication
- Increases a child's self esteem
- Reduces the likelihood of frustration between parents & child
- Builds language skills
- Increases bonding & quality interactions
- Allows for a more detailed view of your child's personality
- You get to experience just how intelligent your child is
- An average increase of 12 points for IQ compared to non-signing children
- Boosts child's literacy & comprehension
At 8 weeks old, I attended a baby sign language class through the same place I took my hypnobirthing class, Peaceful Birthing. There was an instructor who was an Early Childhood Educator & had significant experience teaching her own children signing. The key points that I took away from her class were:
- Eye contact
- Mutual gaze, a gaze between child & person signing
- Signing in repetition at the level of your face while your child is looking at you will help get & keep their attention.
- dada (always a whisper)
- please (pessssss)
- Ruby (uuuRRuuBeeeee)
- car (Ka)
- hot (Ha)
All of which he does in the most adorable little voice! His signing vocabulary has expanded significantly. He now signs almost 30 words!
- thank you
- all done
- I don't know
- bye bye
- Eye contact is key
- Sign in front of their line of vision
- Repeat, repeat, & repeat some more!
- If your child finds interest in something, learn the sign & apply it.
- Example: Graeme loves animal books, so we have taught him many different animals signs so that when we read a book he signs each animal.
- Save http://www.babysignlanguage.com/dictionary/ into your phone & computer for quick video references
- Be consistent with using your signs
- Teach those that will be around your child the signs they use
- Be patient, be confident
- Your child's sign may look different than what you are trying to teach them, that's okay!