Sunday, December 09, 2007

Learning Baby Sign Language

Miss Hanna now knows two more signs. She knows grapes and banana. It took me a while to figure out she was asking for bananas the other day. Sign language wise at least. She dragged me to the kitchen by my finger and pointed at the banana screaming as she does when I don't understand her instantaneously.

She then started signing banana, and I was like OOOOH, that's what you want.

We started teaching her sign not too long ago. I hadn't really planned on it, and I had my reservations about doing it. I kind of thought she just wouldn't talk if she had other ways to communicate. I have not found that to be the case, and in fact the research I've done suggests the opposite. It says that learning sign language really engages the language area of the brain and she will do even better with talking.

I started because she would get so frustrated when I didn't understand her. She understood me fine. I could ask her a question and she would do just what I needed or go to the refrigerator to get what I had asked her if she wanted. But I still had a hard time figuring out what she wanted. She would scream, and get so upset. I finally showed her a couple of signs I remembered from working with children who signed. Just simple signs like eat and more.

It was like the light went on in her world. She started using those two signs frequently and we noticed less tantrums around mealtimes. She picked them up so fast, I couldn't believe it.

I thought if that had worked so well I probably ought to learn a few more to teach her. Problem is those were the ones I could remember.

I went online and found a great program that provided video for each sign and a great ebook that talked about the benefits of teaching babies to sign. It was perfect for us. She is now learning new signs all the time, and we are seeing a lot less frustration on her part now that she is better able to communicate her needs and wants to us.

If you have a baby who is easily frustrated and hasn't started talking yet ~ or not enough to communicate well with you, I highly recommend getting Sign language for Babies and Beyond.

Here's one of the videos. Emotions:

Are you signing with your little one? I'd love to hear how it's going for you!

Talk to you later!

Jackie Lee :)

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