Thursday, March 30, 2023

When To Teach Baby Sign Language

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Our Baby Sign Language Experiences

How to Teach Your Baby Sign Language

I will share some of our experiences with my children and learning basic signs.

On Becoming Babywise;Book Two;has a chapter about doing signs with your baby. As I have said many times, I started On Becoming Babywise with Brayden late; he was 9 weeks old.

While there were things he caught on quickly with, overall I felt like we were playing catch up until he was about 6.5 months old and everything seemed to click.

At that point, I savored the moment of all of my goals being met. The signing was so far down my list that I never really got to it. He was also very verbal, and always has been.

I have a really good friend who also does Babywise with her son who is 9 months younger than Brayden. She started Babywise from birth and also started signing at a young age.

When she started signing I thought, I really should do that with Brayden. By that point, Brayden was about 13-14 months old and said well over 100 words.

While that is a lot of words, there are far more words that were not a part of his vocabulary, including words that he needed to avoid mini-tantrums .

I taught him words and phrases like all done,milk,drink,more,please, and help.

He caught on really quickly, and the words really helped him control his frustrations.

He is a perfectionist and has shown that from a young age. He is the type of perfectionist that gets very frustrated if he cant get it perfect the first time he tries something.

>>>Read: How To Help a Perfectionist Child Who Wont Try

But Surely There Are Situations Where Signing Is Easier Than Speaking

I think thats very likely.;For example, the ASL sign for spider looks a lot like a spider. Its iconic, which may make it easier for babies to decipher. And it might be easier for babies to produce the gesture than to speak the English word, spider, which includes tricky elements, like the blended consonant sp.

The same might be said for the ASL signs for elephant and deer.

But most ASL signs arent iconic, and, as I explain here, some gestures can be pretty difficult for babies to reproduce just as some spoken words can be difficult to pronounce.

So its unlikely that a baby is going to find one mode of communication easier across the board.

Will Sign Language Slow Babys Verbal Development

Research suggests that by giving your baby an early method of communication, sign language can stimulate his desire to learn more communication techniques, including talking. Baby sign language gives him an effective way to engage with those around him, so he gets even more out of social experiences.

Signing with your baby means youll be spending more time talking with him too and theres no better way to help him learn to speak than speaking to him.

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Is It Different Than American Sign Language

Baby sign language and American Sign Language are actually different. Sign Language is a complete language with its own grammar, structure, nuances and is used by the Deaf community. ASL communicates abstract thought, has varying sentence structures and is equally as complex as any spoken language.

On the other hand, in general, baby sign language is not as complex. There are various philosophies and approaches among baby sign language printed resources, online courses, and companies. There are a few that primarily use made-up gestures with very little use of signs from ASL. However, many use a combination of invented signs and ASL. It is thought that some ASL signs are too complicated in either handshape or movements for babies and toddlers, so this philosophy believes it to be easier for the baby when these are simplified.

Even rarer are those that solely use ASL. As the language of the Deaf community, and as a form of respect to their culture, programs of this philosophy believe that no one should alter the ASL language. After all, no spoken languages are examined for words that are too complicated for babies and altered by outsiders. If a word or sign is too complicated, the baby will say or sign an approximation which the adult learns. Over time, the approximation develops into the correct word or sign.

Baby Sign Language Basics

Baby Sign Language Basics & Benefits

In terms of which signs to teach baby first, select words you and your family use all the time in your day-to-day . Some baby sign language basics? Words and phrases like please, more, milk, all done, play, thank you, sleep and sorry all make for great first signs, Fujimoto says.

Read on to learn how to useand teach baby to usethese common words in baby sign language:

Baby sign language: Food. The food sign is done by flattening your fingers on top of your thumb and then bringing your fingertips to your mouth.

Baby sign language: Hungry. Make the sign for hungry by cupping your hand around your neck to make a C shape, then move your hand down from your neck to your stomach.

Baby sign language: Drink. To sign drink, make a C shape with your hand, as if you were holding a cup, then move it to your mouth as if you were drinking from it.

Baby sign language: Milk. To sign milk, make two fists, then extend your fingers and bring them back into fists.

Baby sign language: Water. The sign for water is made by spreading out the three middle fingers on one hand and then tapping your index finger on your chin.

Baby sign language: More. Make the sign for more by pinching your thumbs and fingers together, creating two O shapes, then tap your fingertips together a few times.

Baby sign language: Please. To sign please, extend your fingers and thumb out, then rub your flatten your palm against your chest in circles.

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Is Sign Language Good For Babies

The answer is yes! Not only is this a valuable language for kiddos to learn, but it could even help them express the emotions they dont have the words for yet. Baby sign language gives kids the opportunity to express frustration, which could prevent crying and tantrums. Remember, when teaching baby how to sign, be verbal. Sign language is not meant to replace oral communication, so make sure youre talking as you sign, so your child learns to speak in both languages.

Is Baby Sign Language The Same As American Sign Language

American Sign Language is a natural language that involves using hands and face to communicate. It has all the basic characteristics of a language coupled with a distinct grammar.

Baby sign language involves simple gestures and is a tool for parents to understand their babys emotions before they communicate verbally. It is not a formal sign language like American Sign Language. The signs may be picked up from American Sign Language , British Sign Language, or Japanese Sign Language, but modified versions are used to help babies learn them easily.

Baby sign language does not necessarily involve teaching babies the complex grammar rules or sentence structure of American Sign Language. Besides, baby sign language may not suit differently-abled infants and children, such as those with speech and listening-related problems. If the parent has any concerns about their babys speech and listening abilities, they must consult a doctor and learn relevant sign languages as recommended by experts.

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What The Research Says

The good news is that there are no real drawbacks to using signs with your young children. Many parents express concern that signing will delay the expression of verbal communication.

No studies have ever found that to be true, and there are some that suggest the exact opposite effect.

There are studies that suggest the use of sign language doesnt help infants and toddlers acquire verbal language earlier than usual, but even these studies dont show that signing delays the ability to talk.

Benefits Of Signing With Your Baby

Baby Sign Language | Teach Your Baby to Sign

I have already mentioned one benefit: fewer tantrums. You will find that if you teach your child certain words, tantrums will become fewer.

It also helps prevent whining. Read more about there here: How to Prevent Whining.

Some studies find that a baby who signs might allow a child to communicate several months earlier than she would if you only relied on verbal communication.

Another benefit to signing is when you have more than one child. Siblings can communicate with each other earlier when they can both sign.

When Kaitlyn was a baby, Brayden remembered all of his signs, and learned the signs Kaitlyn added beyond what he knew. He and Kaitlyn communicated with each other with signs often.

The benefits continue beyond what you might expect.

Something Kaitlyn started as a ten month old that I love is when she was done nursing on one side, she signed and says all done. I then switch sides. No more guess-work on if she was done or just interested in what is going on around her.

These benefits can lead to a stronger bond and less frustration. When you dont spend your older baby months and young toddler months constantly frustrated with each other, you will naturally just be happier with each other.

Some studies suggest that babies who sign develop verbal language skills earlierand faster than average. Some even say babies who use sign language develop higher IQs.

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So Should You Teach Your Baby Signs What Are The Benefits Of Baby Sign Language

Teaching a baby to communicate using gestures can be exciting and fun. Its an opportunity to watch your baby think and learn.

The process might encourage you to pay closer attention to your babys attempts to communicate. It might help you appreciate the challenges your baby faces when trying to decipher language.

These are good things, and for some parents, they are reason enough to try baby signing.

But what about other reasons developmental reasons?

Some advocates claim that baby signing programs have long-term cognitive benefits.

They claim that babies taught to sign will amass larger spoken vocabularies, and even develop higher IQs.

Others have claimed that signing has important emotional benefits.

According to this argument, babies learn signs more easily than they learn words. As a result, they communicate more effectively at an earlier age. Their parents understand them better, reducing frustration and stress.

Does the research support these claims?

Not really. But it depends on what you mean by baby-signing.

If by baby signing you mean teaching babies signs derived from ASL or other languages, then theres no compelling evidence of long-term advantages.

But if youre thinking of the more spontaneous, pantomime use of gesture, thats a different story. There is good evidence suggesting that easy-to-decipher, iconic gesturing can help babies learn.

To see what I mean, lets take a closer look at the research.

Why Teach Sign Language To Your Baby

A lot of times people say that the baby sign language can help with reducing frustration for the child, but I do think it is a form of communication that that goes two ways. A lot of times we feel frustration when we cant understand what our child means as well.

Joy Jackson, @lyric_laughter_learning

Babies understanding of language comes well before their ability to speak. This also can be the case with their motor skills. Most babies will wave bye-bye before they can say the words. These are a few of the reasons signing works well for babies. It gives them another means of communicating. Plus research shows that babies who learn basic sign language develop pathways for communication sooner than they would otherwise.;

Jessica Rolph welcomes Joy Jackson to todays episode. She has been using sign language with her daughter from the time she was 4 months old. Joy shares why she chose to teach her sign language and how this has enhanced her communication skills.

Key Takeaways:

Joy explains why she taught herself sign language in order to share it with her daughter.

Joy started teaching Lyric sign language at 4 months old. When did Lyric start using signs?

Is there any benefit to teaching sign language to verbal children?

What are some common misconceptions about sign language and teaching babies sign language?

Joy talks about the difference between baby sign language and ASL.

If a parent is just going to use six or seven signs, what are some particularly useful ones?

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Sign Language Paves Way For Better Communication

5 simple signs to teach your baby to ease frustration ...

Your baby has a lot to tell you. Whether they are happy, they need help, they are thirsty, they want some apples, or they are hurt. Sign language allows them to express their needs and desires while words are still at bay.;

Contrary to the popular belief that sign language hinders speech, it actually supports vocabulary development.;

Teaching sign language to babies gives them the opportunity to use this complex language on a regular basis. This significantly increases their ability to comprehend. Thus, when they learn to speak, they tend to have wider vocabulary.

On the other hand, babies who were not exposed to sign language tend to oversimplify their words and phrases, resulting in a limited vocabulary.;

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Wont My Baby Just Use Signs Instead Of Words

A common concern regarding baby sign language is that this method of communication will take the place of verbal language for your baby. However, Aylet says that sign language will actually accelerate your baby’s verbal skills: “If your little one is growing up in a house and community full of people who use speech as their primary means to communicate, then when your baby or toddler can speak, he/she will.

ALL the developmental research that’s looked into this is in agreement: Sign Language facilitates verbal language for young children. It does not hinder it, it does not make them ‘lazy talkers.’;It is a means towards completely functional verbal language skills.”

My son did continue to use a few of his signs even once he knew the words, but I think thats because theyre easier for him to access when hes flooded with emotion, which got more and more frequent as he transitioned from baby to toddler. At two, his language is great, so retaining a few signs for a few months didnt slow him down.;

Baby Sign Language: When To Start And What To Teach

Baby sign language is an incredible way to get your little one to communicate earlier than they would say their first verbal word. But why should you try it? Well, teaching baby sign language is said to reduce tantrums, increase the parent/child bond, and potentially facilitate speech and language development.

Since a baby usually says their first word around one year old, the idea that they can use their first sign to communicate at six months is pretty impressive.

As a parent myself, I understand the frustration that you feel when you dont understand why your baby is crying or having a tantrum. And then they get frustrated as well when they cant express their wants and needs. Babies often want to tell us these things , and introducing them to baby sign language gives them this capability. Sold yet?

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Tips For Teaching Baby Sign Language

Whether you opt for the spontaneous, do-it-yourself approach, or you want to teach your baby gestures derived from real sign languages, keep the following tips in mind.

1. You can start early.

Babies begin learning about language from the very beginning. They overhear their mothers voices in the womb, and they are capable of recognizing their mothers native language distinguishing it from a foreign language at birth.

Over the following months, their brains sort through all the language they encounter, and they start to crack the code.;And by the time they are 6 months old, babies show an understanding of many everyday words like mama, bottle, and nose.

Many babies this age are also babbling repeating speech syllables like ma ma ma and ba ba ba.

If a 6-month-old baby says ba ba after you give her a bottle, could it be that shes trying to say the word bottle? If an infant sees his mother and says mama, is he calling her by name?

Its entirely possible. And as noted above, research suggests that many babies are speaking their first words by the age of 10 months.

So we might expect that babies are ready to observe and learn about signs at an early age even before they are 6 months old.

2. Introduce signs naturally, as a part of everyday conversation, and dont try to drill babies.

3. Keep in mind that its normal for babies to be less than competent. Dont pretend you cant understand your baby just because his or her signs dont match the model!

How Can I Make This Easier To Teach My Baby


This takes practice on your part. Begin with a few signs to get in the swing of things and add more as you become more confident and consistent. You cannot overwhelm your child by signing too much. Incorporate signs into your daily routines such as feedings and mealtime, bath and evening routine, and play. Signs should be used during meaningful experiences and activities, not drilled or taught in isolation.

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