Family Friday: Baby Sign, Baby Talk

Second Friday of the month:  Babies and Family

My baby is signing! Eat. Milk. More. Bird. Dog. 
It was such an amazing and gratifying experience for me and my children when they began to communicate through sign language during their pre-verbal stage. And this is something I have always encouraged my new mom-friends to try with their own babies.

The essential kit to begin signing with your baby
I learned about "baby signs" long before I had babies of my own. I was watching a show (forgot what it was) that featured an interview and demo video of renowned author and researcher Dr. Joseph Garcia, a certified interpreter. What fascinated me was seeing how babies and toddlers effectively communicated what they want and what they see to their parents, using simple ASL (American Sign Language) signs. The babies and parents were all so happy, with less frustrations and instant gratification. And they all say, the key to successful signing with baby is repetition.
Signing Chart of my boy, with dates of when he first used the sign he learned
After having a baby in 2003, and recording all his developmental milestones (as most first-time moms do!), I remembered seeing an article online about signing with baby. Then I remembered Dr. Garcia's video. So I quickly researched on it and eventually began an exciting stage with my then babbling baby boy. I purchased the kit above, plus some more DVDs to supplement and add variety.  And would  you believe I even considered taking the program to be a certified instructor?! I was an instant advocate.

 "...using signs as a method of early communication between (hearing) children and parents, and how signing affected the onset of expressive language in pre-verbal infants. With the help of the seventeen families in his study, he learned that babies who are exposed to signs regularly and consistently at six to seven months of age can begin using signs effectively by the eighth or ninth month." - Sign2Me.com
I officially introduced sign language to my boy when he turned 1. We watched the videos as instructed, setting a viewing schedule everyday while we apply it in our day to day routine. In a month's time, he was signing back and "communicating" his needs more often! Of course I also had to learn the basics, my husband, as well as the nanny had to watch with him too to be able to engage and effectively communicate with the baby. It is important that the people around the child learn to sign as well. With our second child, we also introduced her to sign language and the experience was just as rewarding.

Benefits of Signing with Your Baby (* with excerpts from Sign2Me.com)

•  Babies and toddler will have less frustrations when sending a message, with less crying, and helps eliminate the guessing game that usually happens when parents and the little ones try to communicate with each other

•  Allows parents and caregivers to encourage communication from the infants and toddlers and encourage self-expression

•  Signing empowers children because they can communicate successfully with those around them. This sense of empowerment significantly contributes to children's happiness *

•  Signing enhances early language skills because children can engage in two-way conversations with their teachers and their peers at an earlier age. *

•  Signing serves as a language bridge for children and staff (others) who speak different languages. The sign is the same for "eat" (English) as it is for "comer" (Spanish). *

•  Children learn to use signs to solve problems. "Stop" and "share" are commonly-used signs that help children learn to get along with one another. *

* Signing is appropriate for all preschool age groups (Infants, Toddlers, Preschool, and Pre-K)

The tutorial in this kit is just amazing. It's really very helpful for parents to understand the benefits of ASL and enlightened me too about a baby's innate intelligence even at a very early age. 
My girl, who was very verbal at 22 months, still liked doing her fave signs
Baby D, at 15 months, enjoys watching the video and showing off her skills
Learning and using ASL is a valuable skill and it's for everybody, with or without impairments, for babies and adults alike. I highly recommend that new parents try this method of early communication with your child. It's really an amazing feeling when you see your child full of wonderment, "talking" and responding to the people and the  environment around him through signs.

Aside from the kit I ordered, these are the actual video (DVD) materials I bought online which all proved effective, entertaining and very educational for the whole family.  After lending these to my friends, they are just raving about them and are so proud of their signing babies!  Of course the tots have their favorites and these are 'My Baby Can Talk' and Baby Eisntein's Baby Wordsworth

You too can learn sign language and bond with your babies at the comforts of your homes and reap the rewards of signing with baby. I did!


More posts on babies:
Baby Checklist
Baby Boom, Baby Love
To (Breast) Feed Or Not To (Breast) Feed
World Breastfeeding Week
Baby's First Foods

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