If you have a baby between the ages of 6-12 months then you have likely noticed that their development is growing by leaps and bounds. You’ve probably seen them pointing to something that they want or even waving goodbye. Guess what? Your child watched you and learned how to do it from you! Do you want to teach your baby even more ways to communicate? Tiny Talkers teaches you and your child that sign language is as easy as repeating a gesture and speaking the word when you have their attention. Pretty nifty.
Babies are physically capable of signing much earlier than they are able to speak. Using sign language gives your child an advantage in being able to communicate because forming words is hard for young children because they lack the muscle strength and coordination in their mouths that are necessary to form words.
Typically, the best time to get started is between the ages of 6-9 months. The older your child is, the quicker they will catch on. Once your child discovers the magic that is sign language and communication, everything becomes easier. BONUS! You’ll probably hear a lot less whining and crying. Tired of playing the guessing game all day long (hungry, dirty diaper, teething, tired)? Signing will help with that because your baby will simply communicate through sign what they need and what interests them in the world around them. Imagine having a two way conversation with your pre-verbal child!
Do you have a child who is a little bit older but still not talking? Did you know that studies have shown that language delays are a risk factor in behavior problems in young children? Sign language can be a sanity saver for parents of children who start talking on the later side. By giving them a way to communicate it helps tremendously in reducing their stress and frustration. In addition, when children start talking they are often hard to understand. When an undecipherable word is combined with a sign, you are able to immediately interact back with your child rather than try and guess what they were trying to say. This, in turn, eliminates a potential opportunity for a temper tantrum based on a communication disconnect.
There are so many positives that can come out of signing but perhaps the biggest one is how it can affect your parent/child relationship. There are amazing psychological benefits to be had as it encourages bonding- causing you to slow down, become more observant and really tune into your child as you watch their movements to see if they are trying to sign. These early bonding experiences are essential for establishing your child’s emotional wiring in their brain.
You don’t have to be fluent in American Sign Language. You are not formally “teaching” signs with complete sentence structures. You are simplifying it as much as possible and adding simple gestures to your normal speech. Remember to have fun with it!
Need some ideas for how to get started?
- Sign early. Start introducing sign language as soon as your baby shows frustration in trying to communicate with you. This typically takes place between 6-9 months of age. You can certainly start earlier as long as you have the realistic expectation that it may take several months for your child to start signing back.
- Start simple.Think about what signs would be helpful for your daily routine such as diaper change, meal time, family members, play activities, bedtime etc. Don’t forget to include signs for things that your child finds interesting! Follow their gaze and help them label things that interest them. This is part of the bonding process! It helps you as a caregiver to be more present in your child’s world.
- Speak and sign at the same time.Always speak the word out loud to ensure your baby connects the sign with the spoken word.
- Be consistent & repetitive: Repetition is the key to learning any language. When your child sees you signing repeatedly, they will learn and imitate them more quickly.
- Get the whole family involved. The more people who sign with your child, the faster they will catch on. Their ability to communicate with their closest caregivers makes them happy. That includes grandparents, nanny, siblings and so on.
- Sign up for a class with Tiny Talkers.Want to stick with it? Going to a weekly class will remind you to keep signing and teach you new signs each week to use.
Classes Tiny Talkers offers:
- Baby Sign Language 101 Parent/Caregiver workshop: A single two-hour adult workshop to positively impact lifetime communication with your child.
- Sign, Sing & Play: Designed to educate through fun and interaction, each session corresponds with a specific area of daily life by bringing together relevant signing education with music and movement to fully engage the learning process for your child. Ages 9 months +
- Music, Movement & Signing for Preschoolers: Little movers and shakers ages and their caregivers will sing, dance, hear stories and learn some sign language in this lively interactive class. Ages 2-5
Shira Fogel~Tiny Talkers
Baby Sign Language Classes!
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