Baby Sign Language has been getting some great reviews and is becoming increasingly popular with new parents. It’s big in America and is growing in popularity in the UK and Australia; in fact, parents worldwide are discovering the benefits of using Baby Sign Language.
So what’s Baby Sign Language all about?
Baby Sign Language or (Baby Sign) is the method of using sign language to communicate with babies before they can talk.
Sign language has always been used within the Deaf community for communicating with babies and children, but recent research has highlighted the benefits of using sign language with hearing babies as a means of early communication.
Babies develop motor skills earlier than speech; this is a basic biological fact. So it makes sense that a baby would be able to sign before it could speak. In general, babies can sign by about 7-8 months old as this is when the memory is developed enough to store and use the signs. This is well before comprehendible speech which can start from about 12-18 months.
Common misconceptions such as Baby Sign is only for deaf children or using signs will delay speech have been proven wrong. In fact, quite the opposite has been proven to be true!
Top 5 reasons for using Baby Sign Language
1. Signing with your baby increases IQ. Tests showed that a group of eight-year-olds who had used Baby Sign as infants scored an average of 12 points higher IQ than their non-signing counterparts. The same group also scored above average in their SATs.
2. Signing with your baby increases communication and language skills. Babies who sign tend to speak earlier and have a wider vocabulary and a greater understanding of language than their non-signing peers. Plus they show more interest in books!
3. Signing with your baby decreases tantrums and frustration. Babies who sign have the means to express themselves and be understood this can greatly reduce the tantrums associated with ‘the terrible twos’.
4. Signing with your baby increases self-confidence and self-assurance. Because your baby can express herself she will gain confidence, she will feel happy and contented and safe in the knowledge that she can be understood by the adults around her.
5. Signing with your baby deepens the bond between parent and child.
You will develop a closer bond with your baby as you fully understand his needs and wants, and you have a unique insight into his thoughts and how he perceives the world around him much earlier than you would without signs.
We all want our kids to be Baby Einsteins, right? We all want our kids to be confident and happy. We all want to give our kids the best start in life! Baby Sign Language is easy to learn and the joys that it brings when your little one can have a conversation with you at 7 months old are well worth the effort.
There are many Baby Sign companies that offer local classes which are a great way to meet other parents and join a group, but if you are too busy or there is no local class near you, you can buy books or DVDs or find resources online – try doing a search for ‘learn baby sign online’.
Hopefully, this article has stirred some interest in you and inspired you to discover the joys of signing with your baby!
Nicola Smout is qualified in BSL (British Sign Language) and mum to a 19-month-old signing baby boy. She educates people about the joys of signing with their babies and the benefits that Baby Sign can bring to both parent and child.