Your baby often expresses discomfort or displeasure through the only thing they are really good at—crying. Sometimes, deciphering their mood and why they are upset can become tricky. Since we can not always communicate with our growing babies, why not give them a medium before they learn to speak.
Basic sign language is one such way through which parents can, to some extent, communicate with their toddler. These include hand gestures through which they can express themselves until they begin to pick up words.
Sign language is easier to grasp for your 6-month-old toddler, while it is already helping children who are coping with hearing impairment and speech loss.
Your baby’s motor still developing quickly. They are also keen observers and can imitate their parents, for instance, smile at a baby and they will smile back. Before they could learn to say mama or dada, they will be able to wave a ‘bye-bye’ at you.
If your baby learns a set of signs for expressing their needs or demands. The result?—a calmer and happy baby and a relieved parent.
Benefits Of Sign Language
Less Stress For The Parent And Baby
When your baby finally learns the sign language it becomes easier for them to communicate with you. For instance, if they have learned the sign of water, they can gesture it at you. It may be tricky to interpret at first but once you and your toddler are used to it, your baby will be more confident and comfortable with it.
As a parent, you will get to see reduced instances of crying, screaming, and fussiness.
Better Understanding And Closer Bond
As your baby learns signs and starts using them, you will know what is running in their mind. For instance, your child will communicate with you more often even when they don’t need anything but want to convey something to you.
Sign language will strengthen the bond between you and your child as you will start understanding their interests and wants.
Contributes To Speech Development
The signing language will not replace their ability to learn and speak words, in turn, it will enhance their experience of communication. Your baby will be better at linking words and gestures. It provides a foundation for your child to develop speech and vocabulary.
How To Teach Sign Language To Your Baby
Before you begin, remember that you have to match your pace of teaching with your little one’s ability to learn. Be patient with your child and make use of repetition for your baby to watch and learn.
Notice when your baby starts to babble and tries to communicative with you through facial expressions like smiles or frowns and using their own baby language.
Start with use of simple words like ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Say a word aloud and make a sign or hand gesture for it. For example, when you are teaching ‘yes’, nod your head. Simultaneously, make a fist and bob it back and forth, while keeping your hand at shoulder level.
‘No’ – The sign can be used to say that your baby no longer wants to eat. Join your index and middle together and tap them with the thumb. Say ‘No’ clearly and loudly to your baby. They might not learn make a correct sign at first, but as they grow, they will become proficient provided you keep teaching and correcting them.
Repeat the sign at different instances, make sure your baby clearly hears and sees it. Your child may not learn it instantly or respond quickly—keep emphasizing the word whenever you get the opportunity. It may take few days to weeks for them to understand and pick it up. It is an absolute fun to watch them while they will feel delighted to learn something new.
As your baby starts learning and gets accustomed to the sign language, you can add more words to the sign vocabulary. For fun and for others to develop a better communication with your child, you can teach the signs to other family members as well.