Did you ever think that it was possible that your eight-month old could tell you exactly whet he wants to eat or what color of socks he would prefer wearing or indicate what kind of drink he would like better?
This may seem hard to believe, but it is not a feat that can only be attained by supermoms.
This is also achievable for your eight-month old without even pronouncing a single syllable. Today, an increasing number of parents, daycare centers and preschools are being trained at teaching babies the amazing sign language. They are reaping the ultimate reward of being able to comprehend the baby’s needs.
Baby sign language is a significant educational means to facilitate communication for babies way ahead of their speech development.
It not only assists in speech development, but it cuts down on aggression and temper tantrums that are the result of incomprehension of the baby’s wants.
Being able to convey the message across is emotionally and psychologically benefitting for the baby. Infants are very emotional and they tend to express their feelings through crying, laughing, giggling, smiling, wailing and/or shrieking.
Baby sign language is an essential way to express their emotions that will obtain a correct and immediate response from their parents.
Once these needs are met, a baby tends to be happier and contented, and happier babies tend to grow up into self-confident and self-assured adults, and signing boosts their self-esteem, thus improving their social skills.
Baby sign language is an effective medium of communication.
Like every other language, the main objective of baby sign language is to help communication between babies and their parents and you can use sign language pictures of words.
The special things about baby sign language include:
Designed for babies: In baby sign language, we are actually dealing with those babies who have not developed their cognitive skills to the maximum extent.
Baby sign language is taught to babies as young as 4 months old so this demands that this form of communication be extremely simple. Actually, it is the simplicity of this language that makes it practical.
Utilization of baby’s skills:
For adults, it is far easier to communicate verbally than through signs, but in the case of babies it is not true.
Babies develop speech later in life, but their ability to understand different phenomena going in the space around them develops much earlier. This is the time when baby can sign for different things, and baby sign language is meant to organize this ability of a child.
Secondary benefits of baby sign language.
Teaching your baby a sign language is actually facilitating him in all his day-to-day activities.
This will prevent frustration in the baby, the secondary benefits of baby sign language are early development of speech, above average IQ, and availability of a fun activity. All these benefits result in a closer relationship between the parents and the baby, eventually, the infant has a persistent feeling of trust and love.
Teaching baby sign language is a continuous process that goes along with the development and growth of your baby.
Starting at the age of 6 months will demand you to restrict signs to only basic words like eat, drink, mommy, daddy etc. But as the cognitive abilities of your child improve with each passing day, you can move on to different more complex words or even phrases.
No matter which sign you want to teach your baby, you need to follow some steps to make sure that you child is learning it properly and quickly.
Learn about the mental development of your baby, you can call the name of your baby to get his or her attention. The frequency of a positive response and the type of reaction will give you an idea of the mental development of your baby.
Teach a sign by creating a link between object, voice and the sign such as the sign for more.
For example, if you want to teach your baby to sign “book”, you should not only show him the book and sign for it but loudly pronouncing word ‘book’ to help your baby develop the concept.
Try to gain the interest of your baby. You may start with a toy and telling your baby how to sign for it. So every time your baby wants to demand his or her favorite toy, they will feel the need to sign in order to get it.
First you have to teach only basic signs, and you can use baby sign pictures.
Signs like ‘eat’ and ‘milk’ are not only easy to sign but babies have a larger tendency to use these signs due to frequent repetition and they soon get the hang of baby sign for more. Your baby will soon be saying hello in sign language and once your baby has started signing back, you need to give him a lot of encouragement.
Praising your baby and showing some extra affection will eventually make your baby feel that he has done something extraordinary.
Sign language instruction has several central purposes.
The first is to guide each child, deaf or hearing, in developing fluent language skills while promoting effective communication between the children and their family and peers.
The second is to support the development of language as a tool for literacy attainment.
Third, it will create an effective and rewarding vehicle for self-expression and self-esteem, allowing participants to explore new means of expression while they enhance existing ones.
The fourth purpose of the objective is to facilitate social interaction and age appropriate play.
Additional benefits include more rhythmic speech; growth in balance, spatial reasoning and motor skills; increased IQ, auditory and perceptual awareness, attention span, memory recall, and vocabulary; reinforcement of cultural identity if Deaf; and improvements in family relationships as communication is clarified.
The first three years are the most critical years for a child’s language development, though sign language may be used to encourage communication among children of varying ages, abilities and interests.
Signing not only offers a method of communication to nonverbal children, but it also facilitates the onset and development of spoken language for pre-linguistic children. Studies have proven that once a set of conceptual, cognitive, and linguistic skills are developed in a first language, they can be transferred or are applicable to the subsequent development of a second language.
As children naturally gesture in self-expression, there is a growing consensus that a sign language should be presented as the first language in infancy and childhood.
By exposing babies to sign language classes, parents will facilitate the development of thought patterns and enable full communication of intelligence to their child. With the use of signing, unexpected benefits may occur for children who hear normally.
Hearing children learn to think in words; when they are told it is raining and simultaneously shown the signed word for rain, they are provided the opportunity to visualize rain through sign.
Otherwise, words are quite abstract, baby sign language classes (for parents) will provide a means of communication more closely aligned with pre-linguistic thinking.
The development of language should be accomplished by making use of experiences, interests, and needs of children. Music is one medium to achieve this goal.
Teaching sign language to children (through baby sign language classes for parents for example) using music, enhances motivation, enjoyment, social skills, self-concept, and development of language.
Benefits of music mediated sign language instruction are endless. Families can do many activities at home to reinforce language development, reading skills, motor skills and other benefits mentioned above.
First and foremost, have fun!
Talk and sing to your baby as you are out taking a walk or inside making dinner. Carry your baby in the front carrier or sling so you can sing and dance together.
Quietly listen to and feel each other’s breathing and heartbeats, two of the most significant aspects of both life and music. Include in his or bedtime routine singing a lullaby or reading a story, get a sign language dictionary, put a photo album together of your baby’s favorite people, places and things.