One day I took my little girl to the library, when she was about 20 months old. They have a group for parents to do interactive rhymes and stories with their kids under the age of two. All the parents and their children were sitting around in a circle singing along and following the actions of the teacher.
Instead of doing the actions the teacher did, I decided to use baby signing.
The other parents were watching us and noticed we were doing something different. After a while though, they were watching us because they could hear my little girl verbally saying most of the rhymes very clearly and using the sign language right along with me.
Most of their children could only say a few words by the age of 20 months. When the class was over I had a swarm of parents around me asking questions. “How old is your daughter, is she supposed to be in this class, where did you learn to do that, what are you doing to make her so smart?”
This sort of thing happened to me all the time so it was easy to answer these questions because all I had to tell them was that we use ASL (American Sign Language) along with verbal communication in our family.
Then they started asking me if we “had” to use sign language for some reason. This is when the conversation gets really fun for me because I get to explain to people all of the amazing benefits that have been found about the use of sign language in hearing children.
To briefly name a few benefits of baby signing it
- increases vocabulary,
- has been proven to increase IQ up to 12 points,
- increases social development,
- strengthens personal bonds, and
- allows you to avoid tantrums and miscommunications.
The great thing about using sign language for baby or toddler is how simple it is to learn, because you learn right along with them so it’s not overwhelming at all.
I now have three children, ages 5, 2, and 8 months. I have had great success with baby signing with each of my child.
My 8 month old can already sign back to me and recognizes many of the signs we use. The reason for its success is because of baby signing is a unique way of using multiple forms of learning.
Baby signing allows every type of learner to retrieve information more effectively. Some children are visual learners, some are audio, and some are more kinesthetic (hands on and movement oriented). Sign Language uses all of these types of learning, which in turn allows for more information to be processed by your child.
Every parent should take advantage of the amazing benefits of baby signing to support their baby’s development and avoid miscommunications with their baby.
By Andrea Ploehn, founder of Signing 4 Baby (signing4baby.com).
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