I'm interested to know people's views on baby signing. On the one hand it sounds like a good idea to help babies communicate from an earlier age than they can speak, but on the other hand does it hold up their language development? I'm newly pregnant so am a long way off from making a decision as to whether it's right for us, but would love to know your views.
I did Sing and Sign with both of my girls and they were both early talkers after using signing for a while. I think it's great and would recommend it to anyone. My friends thought it was a bit woo and 'loud parenting' but it's horses for courses really
Ps, we signed from 3-4 months, very early according to this thread, but we were novices & had no clue what was " normal" - she picked it up easily at that age, as did a friends DD too at the same age too, more recently the same friends son is 4 months & he's just started too but like everything, they all differ so much, but no harm in trying early - I still remember the joy on DDs face when she realised she could ask for food, drink, or nappy change
threewheels - didn't do any courses, but self taught. Found some books that had specific baby sign (as opposed to deaf signs) and we used those. We started off on an American sign language based one, then we tried makaton, but DD found them too difficult to use, so we used the book "baby signs". It was by someone called Linda acropoleo or something?? It also had baby board books to go alongside, so DD and I would look at the books together and do the signs (but I suppose any board book would do the job). I found the key was to be consistent, and sign every time you speak. We started at 10 months. She was an avid signer by a year.
Also totally agree with the poster who said that 'pain' is the best sign to teach them - my daughter used to sign to ask for the teething sachets when she was teething, it was a god send!
THIS looks similar if not the same as we used with DD, honestly you don't need the courses unless you do it as a socialising thing -
start with 4 basic symbols, Food/eat - drink - pain - nappy - start using these as young as you like, but be consistent & always say the word too - as soon as your baby can muster the co-ordination to copy you, they will - you can then add - more - all done & keeping adding as you need to
I do baby sign language with DS which has been invaluable as he has had some speech problems no one else in his class has problems and he can communicate fine. I asked the speech therapist if the signing would be slowing him down ( in his case) but they said it was great we just have to make sure we use words with the signs which we do. I love the classes and so does DS and I agree it helps turn taking and conversation skills my DS yabbers away just has problems with pronunciation. Good luck with your pregnancy x
I only taught dd the sign for milk. I remember her frantically signing it while on the altar at her christening (she had just turned 1 and I was still breadtfeeding). So glad she wasn't shouting boobies or something similar in earshot of the priest.
Signing really helps bridge the gaps: aiding babies who can't yet verbalise to use simple signs and gestures to communicate their needs / wants & observations. Support young toddlers & children who don't have all their speech blocks to clarify their spoken word and support their language development. Signs also act as hooks helping children to remember words and associate them with objects.
I started with my son at 8 weeks, just 'milk' & 'pain' by 12 weeks he was reacting to both sufficiently I could tell when he wanted his milk but also (and more importantly to me at the time) tell if it was teething pain or colic that was troubling him - he reacted differently for each - bliss!!!
I continued to use signs with regularly up until he was 3 and a half, as although he had an extensive vocabulary (over 500 words by the age of 2) as his speech was still developing some of his words sounded very similar so rather than constantly asking him to repeat words I didn't understand and knocking his confidence, I would ask him twice and then ask for the sign to clarify. This was much better for his confidence and a lot less frustrating for both of us.
I also found it very beneficial when I left him with anyone else (my mum / my brother etc) rather than spending 2 hours explaining all his little quirks, cries & mutters it was much easier to show them a handful of signs and have confidence that both they & he would be understood & understand.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS TO SPEAK & SIGN AT THE SAME TIME. This way babies & children are exposed to spoken word too and you won't hinder their language development.
It is also great for dual language families especially where individuals might only speak one language as the sign doesn't change whether you are speaking English, Polish, Russian, German etc.
As someone mentioned above you do need to use the signs at home as well as at sessions (if you don't they'll still pick it up it will just take longer) the more they see the quicker they'll recognise them and react to them (and in turn use them). It can feel a little awkward to start as you get used to using the signs however most people gesture to some degree when talking and you soon find yourself using the signs with ease and to everyone!
Try a local session, all groups are different and use different signing structures and incorporate different elements. So its worth asking them what they use and trying more than one if you can.