Babies want to communicate! People are born with natural non-verbal communication skills as their first language and therefor, the production of gestures and signs comes naturally for any baby.
Most parents use some non-verbal communication with their babies, even without realizing it. Babies routinely wave bye-bye, nod their heads in a yes or no manner, and lift their arms above their heads when they’d like to be picked up. These actions are universally understood and allow parents to communicate with their babies from a very early age. Simply by observing your baby, you will pick up on the ways that the baby already attempts to communicate with you non-verbally.
From the age of 6-months, babies are ready to communicate, but with speech only developing between 12 and 24-months, baby needs an alternative way to communicate. So by giving him / her a tool in hand (literally!) which is easy enough for little hands to use, baby will be able to communicate needs to their parents and others around them.
Infants can learn to use simple signs for common words such as “eat”, “sleep”, “more”, “hug”, “play”, “cookie”, “teddy bear”, etc., even before being able to produce understandable speech. While baby’s articulators (mouth, lips, tongue, teeth) matures slower than their hand-eye co-ordination, baby can be taught signs which helps them to be quicker in understanding and communicate with those around them.
Please note that according to studies, signing does not stop or hinder your baby from speaking. In fact, it actually encourages early communication!
Remember, hearing babies use their hearing to develop their first spoken language, so even though Sign Language is taught to your baby, he/she can still hear and therefore the language he/she hears, will be his/her main language of communication. But babies will learn any language that they are exposed to, without it stopping or hindering them to learn the spoken language used within their homes and spoken by their family.
It is important for babies to get as much exposure as possible to the language(s) that they are learning and learning more than one language, even from infant days, can only be to their advantage.
A mom says: “I have been signing with my daughter since she was 6-months old and this has opened her thoughts to me. How wonderful! She would not have been able to share these thoughts until she was much older. Even when we go for walks, she will point out all of the wonderful things she is seeing. The birds, butterflies, trees, flowers etc. And when family visits, they are able to quickly catch up on Delia’s new signs and communicate with her. This also removed the fear and frustration when she was left with the caregiver. We have taught everyone who enters her life this special language and it has created a unique bond for our entire family.”
Benefits of Teaching Sign Language to Your Baby
Enhances verbal language development
Enables children to communicate their wants and needs much earlier in life
Enhances Language and Listening Skills
Research shows an increases in IQ level
Reduces frustration for babies / toddlers and their caregivers / parents
Parents are provided with a window into the Infants world which again strengthens the bond between parent and child
Less tantrums and other problematic behaviours
Encourages an early interest in literature
Baby Signing Kit
If you cannot attend a workshop, or if we do not have a training scheduled for your area, you can consider purchasing our Baby Signing Kit. The kit consist of the following:
An A5 Booklet with 100 signs to teach the baby, from ‘bath’ to ‘eat’ to ‘butterfly’ to ‘nappy’. A photo of the item is provided, as well as the word, together with the sign, with illustrations on how the sign is to be shown and used.
A Hand guidance to provide you the necessary information on signing with the baby (advantages, techniques etc.) as well as hints and indications as to when to use each specific sign.
A CD with applicable sounds in mp3 or .wav format (for use on a computer or local CD player) for example there would be a short sound of running water than can be used with the sign for ‘water’ or a sound of a bird singing to use with the sign for ‘bird’. This ensures 3-dimentional stimulation for the baby or toddler.
A DVD that goes hand-in-hand with the booklet, explaining each sign individually. The purchase of the DVD is optional
If interested to purchase this kit, please retrieve the order form here
The Baby Training can also be done online for your convenience at:www.tinyhandz.co.za/moodle/
To download the online training application form click here: