The Baby Signs® program has been around for over 25 years and it is easy to see why it is so popular for both babies and parents alike. Sign language bridges a gap between babies and parents in a fragile time when babies are not quite able to form the words that they are thinking and so desperately wanting to say. There are so many benefits from using sign language in addition to words that it is quickly becoming a popular way to increase early literacy and cognitive learning among little ones all over the world.
Lets take a moment and think about why babies love the Baby Signs® program so much. Imagine what it is like to be an infant and not be able to speak until you are well over a year old. Babies have so much that they want to say and have a need to share what they see, feel and remember. Without words babies don't really have a way to share their world with those around them. This can lead to frustration between both parent and child as they struggle to get around the language barrier.
When sign language is introduced it changes the interaction 10 fold. You would be surprised how smart infants really are and how much they understand. This can be easily demonstrated with infants who can use signs at as early as 8 months of age. With sign language, babies and parents can communicate through common signs, words and interactions that are most suitable for them and their daily routines. For example, the most popular meal time signs are: more, eat, drink and all done. When tots can communicate with their parents that they are hungry or thirsty or when they have had enough, it can save a lot of heartache and most certainly takes the guess work out of it.
Babies are so excited and thrilled when they are able to communicate what it is that they are feeling or better yet, being able to start a conversation with their parents. When a baby knows sign language, they are able to express themselves through gestures to show people what they want to talk about and explore. The founders of the Baby Signs® program witnessed this first hand in 1982 when Dr. Linda Acredolo was with her 12 month old daughter Kate in the garden. Kate pointed to a rose bush, wrinkled up her nose and sniffed repeatedly. This was a signal to her mother that she wanted to visit the flowers and she wanted to talk about them. This interaction resulted in Kate seeing lots of flowers and hearing lots of words that revolved around flowers. In turn Kate was one happy girl because she was able to express herself to her mother and successfully got her point across.
By being able to communicate reciprocally with one another, parents and youngsters feel connected and can share a unique bond that may not otherwise be there in the absence of signs. This is one of the many reasons why parents love the Baby Signs® program. Research has shown that the parent-infant bond is strengthened with the use of signs. This is because parents and babies are making a real connection when the message is accurately received ultimately making the relationship grow closer and be much more rewarding for both parties.
When babies can communicate their basic needs, feelings and interests and are understood they are more confident and have a feeling of security because they know that they will be taken care of. Parents too will feel confident and pleased that they are meeting the needs of their child by being able to connect early on. This I am sure has a monumental impact on the interaction shared between a baby and their parent. Both can establish positive experiences that are fulfilling and worthwhile all because the doors to communication have been opened!
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