Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Baby Sign Language

Hello Friends. Today I want to talk to you about baby sign language. You may have heard how teaching your baby sign language can reduce fussy tantrums and the frustration your child may feel when she/he cannot verbally express what they want or how they are feeling. But researchers also believe that it improves your little one’s confidence and self-esteem and aids in speech development!

A few years ago, I watched my friend and her toddler communicate through baby sign language I thought it was the coolest thing. So when I had Weston, I knew it was something I wanted to try. I don’t think Dennis was fully on board at first, but after he saw how it facilitated communication between us, he was all in. I remember the first day Weston used a sign. He was sitting down, whining, and when I asked him what he wanted- he looked me in the eye and made the sign for milk! So I fed him and he stopped whining! It was glorious.

I learned the alphabet in sign language when I was in third grade but I didn't really know much of anything else. So a random google search led me to Baby Sign Language.com  an absolutely FREE guide to teaching your little one sign language. I started with the Quick Start Guide which consists of some videos and drawings that taught me some basic signs as well as how to teach them to my son. Essentially you just make the sign and say the word while you are doing the activity and they eventually catch on. Babies are smart. I started signing with Weston really early, like around 4 months, but you can really start at any age. Babies, however, generally won't pick up on signing until around 8 to 10 months, so it's important to not get frustrated if your child doesn't start signing right away. Weston picked it up around 8 months.

We eventually taught him the signs for:

All Done
Diaper (for diaper changes)

.....and those have pretty much gotten us through until now. He is really verbal now, so we use signing less and less, although he does still continue to use some signs. I am thinking about continuing to teach him, so he can maybe learn American Sign Language when he gets older. Baby Sign Language.com offers charts, flashcards, and books for sale, but money is tight so I've been sticking with the free online resources they provide, like their dictionary.

I should note that we are not an affiliate of Baby Sign Language.com and we are not receiving anything in return by advertising their website. I just find it awesome that its free and easy to use! The woman in the videos presents each sign clearly and efficiently and I love her enthusiasm in these short 30 sec videos.

I should also note, that baby sign language is not the be all and end all in communication with your toddler. I do feel, however, that it has strengthened our relationship because he is able to communicate to me what he needs and I am able to give it to him. But there are definitely times when he wants something he can't have at the moment and then, well...there's a tantrum. But alas....I guess that's what happens during the toddler years.

Are any of you using baby sign language or have you in the past? How has it worked out for you? Would you recommend it to other parents?