What Is Baby Sign Language?
Baby Sign Language
A collection of easy to remember, simple gestures or ‘signs’ that hearing babies can use to communicate with you long before they have the words to speak in sentences.
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Through Baby Sign Language, babies can express their wants, needs and thoughts, such as being hungry or thirsty, tired or sick, or wanting to read a book or play with a toy.
You may already be using some aspects of Baby Sign Language without even knowing it!
Have you ever noticed how easily babies copy us and learn to wave ‘goodbye’ …clap their hands… blow kisses, or shake their heads for yes and no?
Encouraging baby to copy such gestures is something most parents do naturally without consciously thinking about it.
Baby Sign Language takes this form of communication one step further as babies learn simple signs to illustrate a whole range of wants and needs in their little world.
Best of all, using Baby Signs helps improve intellectual development – and helps babies to talk sooner
Why Use Baby Sign Language?
Babies are intelligent little people and from the moment they are born, they start to learn so much about the world around them. Before they learn to speak, their only effective way of expressing themselves is through pointing, crying and screaming.
This can be extremely frustrating for babies as they have the same natural instincts as us to communicate and be understood.
Try not talking for a day or expressing yourself to those around you and you’ll understand why babies cry! Babies experience the frustration of not being able to communicate clearly every day until they can talk properly at about 2½ years old.
Even though babies lack the skills to talk, once they are around six months old, they have the ability to communicate using signs.
There are so many benefits to baby signing, but the greatest benefit of all is the amount of fun and enjoyment it will bring into the life of you and your baby. The sheer excitement you’ll experience when your baby makes their first sign is as memorable as watching them take their first step.
Your baby will be so excited that you understand them. You and your baby will love signing, and simple activities and outings will become an opportunity to learn and communicate in a way you never thought possible.
Tinytalk makes for happier babies – and happier babies make for happier parents and caregivers!.
Benefits of Baby Sign Language?
Helps babies talk sooner.
When babies are born, their brains contain 100 to 200 billion brain cells but what they do not have is the connections between these cells. As signing allows babies to practice using a form of language early on, they are able to make more of these connections by establishing relationships between objects and activities, spoken words and signs at an early age.
Helps improve intellectual development, resulting in higher IQs.
As a follow-up to the original study, Acredolo and Goodwyn assessed the IQ of the study group participants when they were eight years old. They found that those who had signed as babies had an average IQ of 114 which was 12 points higher than the non-signing children.
Think about it: signing encourages you to talk more to your baby than you normally would, as words and signs are always used together. Through signing, you and your baby will tend to notice more things to sign about. The more signs you use, the more they will get repeated, providing your baby with more opportunities to hear how words sound. And, as babies request or use a sign, you will naturally talk and provide them with more information. What fertile training ground for early speech!
Reduces tantrums, tears and frustration.
Babies who sign are less frustrated because they are able to communicate their needs, wants and emotions. Babies discover early that signing is far more productive than tear or tantrums!
Develops larger vocabularies & understand more words.
Signing gives babies’ options: either to use a sign or say a word. On average, by the age of two, baby signers have 50 more spoken words in their vocabularies than non-signers. At age three, research has shown that these little signers are saying and understanding words equivalent to that of most 4 year olds.
Increases communication and learning at a very early age.
Baby signers are able to participate in the communication process to ‘talk’ about their wants, needs, feelings and interests, long before they can utter a word. They are more observant and watch to see what new things they can learn. They also learn early to request new information by pointing to things… and the more they learn, the more they want. Through signing, they can ask questions and receive answers.
Encourages greater interest in books and pretend play at an early age.
Signing allows babies to interact and ‘read’ books with you, and to extend their pretend play. As they develop their communication skills, you may notice they tend to incorporate signing into their everyday play e.g. signing to their toys.
Enriches bond with parents, siblings and caregivers.
You spend more quality time in two-way communication when you sign. Babies become a more active member of the family, as they are able to participate in the communication process.
Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
Babies who learn to sign tend to develop a ‘can-do’ attitude as they are able to tell you what they want, when they want it and be understood. Signing babies have more control over their world which helps to develop confidence and self-esteem.
Reveals how smart babies really are and gives you a window into their mind.
Because babies can’t talk, we often fail to appreciate how much they really understand. Signing allows your baby to express their intellect at a very early age. You’ll be amazed at what goes through a baby’s mind and through signing, your baby will be able to tell you much of it. Remember, everything is new to them and they want to tell you what they discover.