We started signing with our baby for several reasons. My main goal in starting sign language was to eliminate tantrums! Throwing fits is common in older babies and young toddlers. Selfishly, I wanted to avoid these fits and tantrums, but the benefits of signing are far beyond eliminating these outbursts. Giving my child the tools to communicate with us during this pre-verbal time has lasting benefits. Let’s look at some of the benefits sign language has to offer your child.
Signing takes Patience
Before you even start recognize the patience it may take. You may not see results for a while after introducing a sign. This is a benefit because patience is a skill we as parents and teachers NEED. Practicing patience everyday will benefit you, your baby, family, and/or classroom. Patience is also a fruit of the spirit we see written by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. What a great way to practice patience through sign language!
Baby Learns to Express Needs and Desires
Your baby can begin learning as early as 6 months as you begin signing (we didn’t see results till 10-11 months, so don’t get discouraged!). Your baby could learn to express when they need a drink, want to eat or want to have more, want to play with a toy, and many more! It is incredibly exciting to experience the beginning stages of communication through sign language!
Child is Less Frustrated
Yes, less frustrated baby means less tantrums! Success! Your baby is less frustrated because he/she can communicate his/her desires with sign language. This is my main goal in signing, giving my child the tools to communicate. Can you imagine wanting to tell someone how you feel or what you want but having no way to do so?
Baby Can Share with the World
Baby signing allows them to share with the world with others! They are not alone anymore but can express, share, and explore with others through sign language.
Creates Strong Bond Between Baby and Caretaker
Being able to communicate with you sooner creates a stronger bond between child and caretaker. The child begins to realize the can come to you for specific needs. Child can now communicate with you enjoying a new way of interacting with you and others through sign language.
Children Who Sign are Verbal Sooner
Many adults are nervous their child will not be verbal and simply sign. This is not the case. Children are learning that objects and people have names through a sign and a word. Using both together helps the child learn more quickly that items, places, and people have names.The fact that they are communicating with you already gives them a wider range of tools to become verbal sooner through the use of sign language.
By providing your child with words early you are expanding their vocabulary. The more words they are exposed to at an early age the greater vocabulary then will have later in life. It is often described as a window of time in development. A child’s brain goes through many changes in the first 3 years. They are learning to speak, think in new ways, and taking in so much of the world around them. Sign language early improves language and vocabulary!
Babies and young children that signed have been know to get better grades in school. A child’s school success can be linked to the amount of words, language, sign language, and literacy they are exposed to from birth to 3 years of age. Early childhood plays a major role in a child’s future academics.
Teaches A-B-C’s and Spelling
This is a great way to help teach the alphabet to a young child anywhere, anytime! Children learn how to move their fingers, working on fine motor skills while learning to spell through sign language. Your child can learn to spell simple words they use everyday. Great words to start with are cat, car, dad, mom, dog, eat, bed, nap, etc.
Get Started! Here is a great video of basis routine signs from Parents Magazine! They have many more videos too that can help you get started!