By Helen Brawn, Mum of 2 and experienced baby signing teacher.
How baby signing can help them communicate before speech
Sometimes it is obvious. The ‘hungry cry’ or the ‘tired cry’: we can often recognise the meaning behind the noise. But a baby who signs can tell you what they need, how they feel and what they have seen, reducing frustration for you both and enhancing their speech development.
The ability for a child to be able to get their ideas/thoughts/wants/needs across is incredibly enriching for a baby’s relationships and can reduce the frustration babies and toddlers can experience before they can talk. Signing gives them confidence and self-esteem; seeing the delight on your baby’s face when you understand their sign is a wonderful moment. Through sign babies and toddlers can communicate complex ideas long before their speech reaches this level of sophistication.
The other benefits of baby signing are well documented. Speech and language experts have long recognised that using simple signing, for the most important words babies learn, will encourage early speech development. In the early years of life, babies’ brains are ‘wiring’ themselves through their experiences. The visual component of sign language increases brain activity and stimulates development of connections between brain cells. So the signs (visual) and words (spoken) used together are a richer base for a baby’s developing brain than words alone.
Where to start
Baby signing is easy and fun to do, and the more you practise, the more likely your child is to adopt signing readily. Babies naturally use gestures to help themselves be understood; think of clapping hands or waving goodbye. You can begin to sign at any time with your baby, even from birth it’s never too early to start with the basic signs that can be repeated many times during the day, such as ‘milk’, ‘more’ and ‘all gone’. Keep the signing you use age and development appropriate, and build on your signing by introducing signs for things that interest your baby, be they ducks or aeroplanes! If you follow your baby’s interests, they will be motivated and keen to learn the signs for themselves.
How does Sing and Sign teach these baby signs?
Sing and Sign’s original and unique approach has revolutionised baby signing in this country. Everyone knows nursery rhymes and action songs are great fun and musical activities help stimulate language development. Sing and Sign combines the benefits of both music and baby signing. We teach a wide range of signs using some traditional and some specially written or adapted songs. What makes Sing and Sign special is that every sign used in song relates to those important first words of a baby’s world! Nappies and bath time, hiding games and bedtime. You name it, we have a song about it, and the babies just love to hear them! With a high standard of educational content, this is a relaxing, enjoyable and unpressured way for you and your baby to learn.
Classes currently available in Aylesbury, Bicester, Brackley, Buckingham, Banbury, Leighton Buzzard, Stoke Mandeville and Towcester. Find out more.
For further details on baby signing or to find a class near you contact: Helen Brawn on 07906 055591 or email firstname.lastname@example.org