One of the newest and far reaching trends in communication with babies is
using baby sign language. Many parents are using sign language
to facilitate communication with their little ones and it has
proven to be very effective. Baby sign language is not bound by
language or countries since all babies and toddlers everywhere are very
limited in their ability to tell others what they want and need.
Using baby sign language is an effective way to help a little
one process language. |
Baby sign language helps reduce the number of tantrums that a
toddler has. Many times, a toddler will become extremely
frustrated when he is unable to tell others what he needs. He
does not have the skills required to articulate his wants and
needs through speech. Gestures are much easier for a baby to use
and the gestures do not have to match the American Sign Language
designated signs for objects and activities. A baby can use a
waving gesture to ask for a cookie. As long as his caretakers
know what the gesture means, it works.
Parents can begin using baby sign language through modeling.
Sign language is very visual and it is easier for a baby to
remember than spoken words. The baby begins to connect the
spoken word with the gesture and with the object or activity
very quickly. My daughter does not use sign language yet, but
she understands signs for the words "more, want, help, ball,
play, and eat" on sight. Gradually, she will begin to imitate
the baby sign language and finally she will use the words.
My daughter does not like when I use hand-over-hand prompts to
help her use sign language and many babies will not do that. They need to
observe the gestures and pick them up gradually. Baby sign
language should not be forced and it should not be structured.
The best approach to using sign language for babies is to
connect the words with the signs and with the object or
One of the most popular signs to teach first is "more" because
it is very easy for a baby to understand. If you are swinging a
baby in a swing, take a moment to stop swinging and sign "more"
before continuing the activity. Modeling the signs is a great way
to introduce them. The baby will eventually begin using the sign
language on his own as he learns to imitate.
Once the little one begins to use baby sign language, you will
find that he also begins to articulate the words associated with
the signs. Make it fun. Involve activities and things that the
baby loves and you will have a great start on building your
child's communication skills. Baby sign language is the first
step to developing good communication skills, and in turn, good
It doesn't take long, and you'll find yourself communicating
baby sign language with other babies you meet. Parents will be
amazed that you got through to their child with modeling and
imitating baby sign language. They will see an immediate
association to what a parent can do to communicate more
effectively with their baby.