Parents want to understand their babies and they want to be understood. Baby sign language can help to improve communication when the child is not yet able to communicate.
What Is Baby Sign Language?
Baby sign language should bridge the time when the baby cannot yet speak with various signs. This should contribute to the satisfaction of a child and parents. The best age to start with sign language is between the sixth and ninth month of life. Then babies have developed the necessary motor skills to use their hands in a coordinated way. The following situation descriptions show whether the baby is ready for sign language:
- They drop toys and look at the object.
- The baby points at things.
- She or he can already sign like waving.
- Your child imitates gestures or activities.
How To Teach Baby Sign Language To Your Child
To introduce baby sign language you should choose such signs symbolizing your child’s basic needs. “Milk”, “eat” or “more” are terms that are important for babies and make it easier for them to communicate. For example, always show the sign for milk to your child when you breastfeed or feed them with a bottle. Ask questions and show: “Do you want to drink your milk?“ You can also say the word and gesticulate immediately afterwards: “You have drunk your milk well.”
Important: Repeat the baby signs as often as possible. Make sure your child looks at them. The more often the baby sees them, the faster he or she learns to understand for what words and signs stand. Initially, however, limit yourself to a few gestures that clearly differ from each other. Otherwise, confusion can arise on both sides and the use of baby sign language can lead to frustration.
This Is What Research Says About Baby Sign Language
In social networks, there are always debates about the sense and nonsense of baby sign language. According to supporters and proponents, there are many advantages. For example, they assume that it improves the parent-child relationship. Also, baby sign language should promote their language development and intellectual growth. Last but not least, the children who understand and use baby signs are said to develop a better social competence. However, critics argue that there are still no reliable studies on this subject.
Despite this, sign language for offers great fun for parents and children. For older siblings, baby signs are also a nice way to deal with the younger ones. This can help to improve bonding between family members.
Baby Sign Language – No Substitute For Language Development
You should not, however, get bogged down by the use of the signs. Getting to know and understanding body language, facial expressions and gestures is also important for children. Nevertheless, if the child’s speech development is noticeably delayed, it is better to consult specialists such as a pediatrician and speech therapist. The use of baby sign language should not compensate for disturbances in speech development.
Bonding Through Baby Sign Language
Baby sign language enables playful communication with the baby. It is not verified whether it promotes intelligence or social competence. Nonetheless, it can be fun to get in touch with your baby in this way. The time spent together strengthens the bond between parents and child. There are even courses and workshops for baby sign language. There you can learn this sign language together with other parents.