Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When Can We Start Teaching Our Baby to Sign?

We know that signing with your baby adds visual information that helps your baby learn language and baby sign language also helps to enhance bonding between you and your baby.  Now raise your hand if you’ve ever wondered, “When should I start signing with my baby?

Your baby didn’t come with instructions and so far you’ve figure out how to change a diaper, when she likes to eat and you’ve almost figured out this sleep-thing. You’ve heard about baby sign language, actually you’ve heard great things about it, well, except from your dear old Aunt Alice. She’s shared, “Why would you want to sign? Don’t you want her to ever talk?

First, let's get rid of that myth right away:  A common (and understandable) concern that some well-meaning relatives might ask is if baby sign language will delay speech skills?  The short answer is “no”.  

There’s more good news: baby sign language doesn't have to be overwhelming. With the right resources, you’ll be able start signing with your baby as soon as today!

Studies have shown that rather than delaying verbal language, babies who are signed to have larger vocabularies, both when they first began talking and even much later when they were in school, than their non-signed-to peers! 

So When Should I Start?

You can start signing with your baby at any time. Most babies in our classes are between the ages of 5 and 10 months when they start. You can though sign earlier and later with your baby – it’s up to you!

Typically most babies will sign back to you between the ages of 9 and 11 months of age, but many will understand a lot that you sign to them before 9 months of age. For example, before a baby is able to show you the sign for milk, they will show you that they understand the sign when you make. If a baby is fussy and hungry, they may calm down (for a bit!) when you show them the sign for milk to let them know “milk is on the way”!

Since 2001, WeeHands has been an industry-leading children's sign language and language development program delivered through interactive, fun classes, as well as a line of tailored products. In 2014, WeeHands became part of Morneau Shepell’s Children's Support Solutions, an organization that provides health-centered and educational services to children with differences to help them reach their potential. 

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