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Monday, September 6, 2010

What Is Baby Sign Language Exactly?

Hello lovelies!
Today I invite you to read a post from a new acquaintance I've come into contact with.  Her name is Misty Weaver, and she is the Chief Editor for Baby Sign Language.  I personally used a little bit of sign language with my first child, and it certainly came in handy when eating as he learned to sign "all done" and "more."  I wholeheartedly believe in the power of baby sign language - that is to say that if you can get them to learn it, the "power" is that you can communicate with one another and with fewer frustrations on both your part and baby's part.  So without further adieu, I'd like to share this guest blog post about Baby Sign Language with you.  Enjoy!

Misty Weaver writes...

"Baby sign language is a way for our babies and toddlers to communicate with us before they are able to speak.  They can understand what we say long before they can say anything back.  Baby Sign Language offers a way to bridge this gap.  If your baby has something to say, she can say it with signs!

Babies already gesture naturally.  They point at things they want.  They wave bye-bye to us when we leave.  The urge to sign is innate.  So why not foster this tendency, and develop it into a skill that can make life easier for both the baby and the parents?

When your baby wants to breastfeed, he can make the sign for milk.  When he is tired, he can make the sign for bed.  When he can’t find his blankie, he can make the sign for blanket.  When he is hungry, he can tell you!  Many times, 12-month-old babies are already signing please and thank you!

The benefits of Baby Sign Language are many.  Studies show that babies who sign learn to speak faster and better than babies who don’t sign.  Toddlers who grow up signing have bigger vocabularies than those who don’t.  Research even shows that the average IQ of children who sign is 12 points higher than children who don’t sign.  And by the time they get to school, children who grow up signing have higher reading levels than those who don’t.  It seems that baby sign language helps with all facets of speech and language development.

Of course, all of that might seem abstract to a mother or father chasing a ten-month-old around the house.  There are immediate benefits to signing with your baby as well.  Babies and toddlers who sign show fewer frustration behaviors such as biting, kicking, and screaming.  It doesn’t take long for your baby to figure out that she can get what she wants far easier and faster if she signs, as opposed to the old-fashioned freaking out!

Studies also show that the ability to communicate is really healthy for a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.  Signing with your baby shows him that you care what he thinks, feels, wants, and needs!  And don’t you feel good when someone understands you?  It works the same for our wee-ones!

Signing is also an awesome way to bond with your infant.  Any time spent teaching your baby (and learning from your baby) is precious time.  When you sign with your baby, you are actively engaging with her, which is what the parenting magazines call “quality time.”  Those minutes are more fun than the minutes your son spends watching you do laundry.  (Though of course, those moments can be precious too!)

In the United States and Canada, Baby Sign Language employs the signs of American Sign Language (ASL).  So your baby will actually be learning a second language!  Many children remember the signs you teach them for the rest of their lives!  Who knows when this skill will come in handy?  (Get it?  Handy!  Ha!)"

Thank you, Misty, for this article!  I, for one, have enjoyed it and plan to utilize baby sign language with our 5 month old!

Stay tuned for A GIVEAWAY of some baby sign language developmental tools to arrive later this week! :)

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