Baby Sign Language Basics
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Parents and caregivers of babies age 0 to 18 months are encouraged to attend this FREE class to learn how to use sign language with their babies.
Please pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/baby-sign-language-basics-tickets-72757703249
Participants will learn the history and benefits of using signs with babies, 20 ASL starter signs, and specific teaching strategies that will boost Baby's understanding and lessen the time it will take for him to sign back to you.
BENEFITS OF SIGNING WITH BABIES
Reduces Frustration For You and Your Baby
Any parent that has ever attempted to console their crying baby understands the frustration if they are unable to help their baby.
For example, suppose your baby wants her favorite teddy bear but is unable to tell you this with words and is unable to point to her bear because it is not in sight. Because she has no other means to tell you what she wants, she begins to cry. So you begin to guess. Perhaps she is hungry, thirsty, has wet diapers, too cold, too warm, etc. If you finally guess that she wants her bear then you are both happy. If you never guess what she wants, you are both left extremely frustrated.
But what if your baby could make the sign for bear? You would simply go and get the bear. You and your baby would then be satisfied and a great deal of wasted time and frustration would be avoided.
Strengthens the Bond Between You and Your Baby
The ability to communicate is one of the most important bonds between any two people. You are likely to feel closer to your baby once she begins to speak because she can now communicate with you. If she can communicate with you earlier, then the bond between the two of you will be strengthen earlier. Each time your baby uses a sign and you respond, you share a common world of perceptions and experiences and the connection between you and your baby becomes stronger.
Signing allows you to share your baby's world without waiting for her to speak. You are likely to be surprised by what your baby sees, hears and feel. She is looking at the world for the first time.
Helps Your Baby to Speak Sooner with a Larger Vocabulary
Research has shown that, those babies who are taught to use signs to communicate before they can speak actually begin speaking sooner. In addition, these babies are likely to have a larger vocabulary once they begin to speak. This is not surprising since babies that sign have been able to successfully communicate from a very young age. Babies who learn to sign have already forged the link between abstract symbols (signs and words) and experiences in their world. Success with signing is likely to encourage your baby to attempt the next form of communication when her ability to verbalize matures.
Boosts Your Baby's Self-Esteem and Confidence
Success builds upon success. Your baby can communicate wants and needs sooner using signs, speak sooner with the help of signing, and learn more at an earlier age. The more you and your baby communicate, the greater the opportunity for positive interactions and this leads to higher self esteem and self confidence for your baby. Your baby is able to influence her world from a very young age by initiating and participating in conversations while her non-signing peers are limited to grunting, pointing and crying. Your baby is also likely to be more stable emotionally since she feels understood and validated long before she is able to speak. Using signs to express emotions such as happy, sad, mad and scared also helps your baby to recognize and label emotions in a constructive way.
Helps Your Baby Attain a Higher IQ
Research has also shown that babies who use signs to communicate pre-verbally score higher on IQ tests. In fact, studies have shown long term benefits as well. Children at the age of 8 who signed when they were babies scored, on average, 12 points higher on IQ tests when compared to their non-signing peers. Perhaps this is because signing allows babies to learn more about the world at an earlier age by getting feedback from their primary teachers - their parents. If your baby signs the word "cat" while looking at a "dog" you can easily explain the difference. Your baby has now been presented with a real world distinction and thereby given the opportunity to learn. A baby who cannot communicate what she is thinking cannot be offered such distinctions and consequently simply cannot learn at the same level as a baby who can.
Enhances Your Baby's Memory
Parents and teachers have been using tactile and movement activities (kinesthetic anchors) with children of all ages for many years to enhance a child's ability to retain and recall information. Put simply, adding a touch and a movement to a word or song helps children remember the word or song. This is why almost every child in the US can recite the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "I'm a Little Teapot." This is also why most preschool performances add physical movement to the songs that they present. Movement is simply another way for a child to remember and later access information that they learn. The same advantages can be given to your baby by teaching your baby to sign.