Recently, I was featured on CTV Morning Live, and the host, Kim, asked me what the benefits of baby sign language were, and why people should take a session rather than learn baby sign language from a book or video. There were SO many things I wanted to say, but didn’t have time, that I decided to share my thoughts in a blog post.
Foremost, sign language for babies is a way for families to communicate with one another. It eliminates the amount of guess-work parents do, immediately distinguishing between a hungry and tired baby. Families strengthen their bond through everyday activities, such as eating, playing, and bathing, since their baby can share his experiences with them through sign. Furthermore, a baby, who can communicate her needs, wants, and interests, will be more confident. Baby sign language improves coordination, dexterity, language processing and visual-spatial reasoning. And, a baby using sign language benefits from using all learning styles; he benefits from listening (auditory learning) to his parents talk while he watches (visual learning) them sign, then he benefits from moving his hands and body (kinesthetic learning) while communicating to his parents. A class delivers all of this through an interactive environment.
Baby sign language is intended to be interactive; it’s about teaching your baby to communicate with you and learning techniques that will support your learning. It is about parent-child socialization since the best way for our babies to learn is through play. Classes should incorporate reading stories, finger-play, knee bounce rhymes, sensory play, and movement WHILE teaching sign language.
When learning a new language, it’s important to have support. When families learn baby sign from a book or video there are opportunities for mistakes to be made. Books are 2-dimensional, whereas sign language is 3-dimensional. There is no one to ask for clarification or support when watching a video. A class provides the support families need. We teach families the essential skills they need for signing, where to start with their baby, and how to interpret what their baby is signing.
When taking a baby sign language class, it’s important to have a qualified teacher. You want someone who will be able to teach you the essentials as mentioned above. You want someone who is fluent in ASL, and has an understanding of early childhood development.
Families take programs to socialize, learn, and build stronger bonds with their babies. They want to bridge the communication gap with their baby while having fun!