How about preparing yourself by learning the only language your baby is capable of communicating with when he is a few months old? In my opinion “Baby Sign Language” is a very undervalued subject in Parenting and has yet to reach its true potential. .The baby/kids product Industry is booming with companys manufacturing and marketing average to sometimes outright useless products to vulnerable parents. Every other day I hear of another such product being launched without any research and touted to innocent parents or would-be parents. I remember also being in that phase of completely going overboard with buying stuff for Ed before he was born. And still strangely for some reason whenever I talk of teaching baby sign language, I get unconvinced looks from most parents. Would’nt we all like to have a medium that enables two way communication with the baby we all so excitedly prepare and wait for? Baby Sign Language is so important that I feel along with other preparations if you have the time every parent should start learning the basic signs of sign language before the baby is born. If you are interested, you can read about our experience of teaching baby sign language to Ed In brief: we started teaching baby sign language to Ed by using Baby Signing Time and Signing Time Dvds when he was about 6 months old. He did his first sign when he was 8 months old and from then until he was about 18 months we communicated by using Baby sign language so effectively, that I rarely remember a time when I couldn’t understand what he wanted. I know of babies as young as 6 months old signing important words like milk, eat, drink, juice, crackers etc. Lets read some of the benefits of Baby Sign Language.
What are the Top 10 Benefits of teaching Baby Sign Language to your child?
1) Would’nt it be nice To know your baby’s thoughts, needs and observations more like having a window to their little mind ? This for me is the Top of the Top 10 benefits of teaching baby sign language to your child. It takes the guesswork out of parenting when you know what your baby’s basic needs are. It will help you as a Parent to understand when the baby is hungry, sick or what he wants to eat. For me this was the only benefit I truly cared for before I started teaching signing to Ed. But then along with this came the add-on benefits, which made this experience something I would always cherish.
2) Baby Sign language is the only medium which Makes it possible to communicate with babies long before (sometimes almost an year) they can verbalize their wants and needs at such an early age .
3) Communicating using sign language is such a Rewarding experience. You will feel so present when you experience your baby communicating with you- as he is discovering the world around him for the first time. It enhances the Parent child bonding experience .
4) Reduce tantrums and frustration for you and the Baby . Baby Sign Language gives your baby the means to communicate and express their needs and make themselves understood. This reduces any meltdowns and tantrums that occur due to the inability to communicate their thoughts.
5) Research has shown that learning more than one language helps babies in brain development. Teaching Sign language to your baby gives your baby the Benefits of learning a second language so early on. This could also be a double bonus for an already bilingual family.
6) Very often I encounter parents who are concerned that teaching their baby sign language will delay their baby’s speech acquisition. Any concerns that the use of signing with hearing babies might delay speech development have been proven unfounded by Acredolo and Goodwyn’s research and other experts who actually claim that in fact the opposite is true – Teaching Sign Language, Aids speech Development.
7) Sign Language promotes Multi-sensory learning as it uses hands and sounds together and boosts brain development. To perform the signs your baby is encouraged to use their fingers, hands and arms which enhances their gross and fine motor skills at such a young age .Your child’s cognitive skills also develop as he learns to watch, imitate and finally perform the signs that he/she is being taught.
8) Studies show that sign language utilizes more areas of the brain for communication which makes babies actually develop language skills earlier than non signing children, and also have comparatively a larger vocabulary. This gives them a great foundation in speech and language in their pre-school years.
9) Psychological Benefits such as increased confidence and self esteem.
10 Teaching Sign language is also beneficial for kinesthetic learners as it allows them to channel their physical energy into communicating a thought.
Why do some people still consider Baby Sign Language to be a fad?
Maybe because until a few years back, Sign Language was only considered as a language for communicating with those who are deaf. Also i feel that somewhere the concept of teaching Baby Sign Language gets bundled up with baby music, baby gym, baby yoga sort of “enrichment” classes. Dont get me wrong, I am not against these enrichment classes, in fact Ed went to a fair share of them. It is just that I consider baby sign language to be more than just an “enrichment” class. For me, enrichment classes are somewhat optional – Learning to communicate is more than optional, it is essential. Especially for little babies who have no other means of doing it.When I started teaching signing to Ed, I looked around for classes but we did not have any Baby Signing Classes where we live so we used Baby Signing Time Dvds to teach him, which worked really well for us. In hindsight, I am glad we used the Dvds’ to teach him as it gave us a lot of freedom in choosing when we could play them without the pressure of taking Ed to classes. But I sincerely hope soon all parents realize its full potential and use it as a mainstream parenting tool with their hearing babies, or a non verbal child with other disabilities or even to just teach their child a second language.
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