Baby sign language is the practice of using simple sign language or gestures to assist parents, family and child care workers to communicate with pre-verbal babies. You may find that you already use some of the basics. Several studies have highlighted the vast benefits of introducing babies to sign language.
- Sign language can empower your baby to communicate with those around them before they are able to speak. It also enables them to initiate a conversation about topics that interest them. Furthermore, it bridges the gap between no language and spoken language.
- It can reduce frustration for both you and your baby. Sign language may allow your baby to tell you what they want, what's wrong or what hurts easing your baby of stress, frustration, tantrums and crying. If your baby can communicate their basic needs to you, it means you do not have to try and interpret their cries.
- Sign language enriches the parent-child relationship. The nature of signed communication leads you and your baby towards responding to each other. Signing involves daily interactions with your baby that will eventually lead to a two-way conversation.
- It also provides an insight into your baby's mind and who they really are. Baby sign language allows your baby to initiate a conversation with you about what they are interested in. It allows you to see what they are thinking, what they are interested in and what the world looks like from their view. All this before your baby can talk!
- Intellectual development and improve memory are also consequences of sign language. Children are fascinated with sign language and often pay greater attention to what is being taught when it is involved. It has also been shown that when children learn a word in conjunction with the sign, they are more likely to remember the meaning of the word.
- An accelerated speech process can also be attributed to sign language learning. Research has shown that children who use sign language may acquire spoken language faster than non-signing children.
- Sign language can also enhance a baby's confidence, self-esteem and self-expression. Due to a baby's ability to communicate their needs, wants and interests through signing, a baby may become more confident.
- Baby sign language can stimulate brain development and potentially increase your baby's I.Q too. Research has illustrated that signing babies achieve higher scores on future I.Q. tests than children who learn how to speak in the traditional manner. When learning sign language; you use both the right and left hemisphere of the brain compared to learning a spoken language, which only uses the brain's left hemisphere. This use of both hemispheres results in the brain building more synapses, thus stimulating brain development.
- By introducing your baby to signs, you are introducing your baby to a second language. Children who pursue and practice sign language are effectively bilingual. Brain research suggests that language skills are acquired best in the first years of a baby's life. So, go ahead and gift your baby this wonderful experience!