Babies use basic signs to communicate before they develop the ability to use speech. This gives you, as a parent, an opportunity to communicate effectively with your kids long before they can talk. It will also increase the bond you share with your baby. However, you have to invest your time and effort to teach your infant how to sign, for effective communication. The signs used are usually straightforward and easy to teach, in addition to being fun.
How Soon Can You Start Teaching Your Baby Sign Language?
Experts say that a baby can begin to attach meaning to the sound of words from the age of about six to eight months. It is around that time that the baby can also learn to use gestures when trying to tell you something. For example, the baby might point to something that attracts his interest or hold out his arms when he wants to be picked up. Any gestures will show you how eager the baby is to communicate.
Generally, it can never be too early to start teaching your baby how to use sign language, as long as he can move his hands. However, the baby will likely be ready if you notice him paying close attention to his hands or your hands. Playing with his hands and picking up toys are examples of signs that he is ready.
How to Teach Your Baby Sign Language
As mentioned earlier, teaching your baby sign language is quite simple. The main idea is to make specific gestures whenever you say particular words. You have to show the same gesture for specific words and do it repeatedly. Persistence and consistency are what will work. For example, you have to say the word “food” and make the gesture for food each time that you give the baby food.
Make sure you teach the baby just a few signs at first to avoid confusing the baby. Start with the easiest and most helpful ones. Remember to look for any opportunity to sign to the baby, and make the gestures slowly and repetitively.
Benefits of Baby Sign Language
Teaching your baby sign language has a variety of benefits, both short-term and long-term. For starters, it enables you to figure out the needs or wants of your baby before he can develop speech, which means that you can take better care of him. The baby expressing himself also helps clear up confusion and reduces tantrums and aggravation. According to studies, those babies usually have higher intelligence quotient as well.
Concerns About Teaching Baby Sign Language
A majority of parents usually wonder if teaching sign language to their babies would cause delays in speech development. According to various studies on the suitability of sign language to kids, it has been established that signing babies learn how to speak sooner. They also enhance their comprehension a great deal and their ability to use vocabularies sooner.
Another concern among most parents is usually whether the babies will continue signing even after speech development. In most cases, there is usually an overlap period where the babies use both sign and speech before dropping the signs. Other babies drop sign language as soon as speech develops, skipping the overlap period.