Jul 3, 2009

Baby Sign Language

Teaching your baby sign language is simply an extension of his or her natural desire to communicate. Most babies naturally learn common signs and gestures such as waving bye-bye, holding up their arms when they want to be picked up, and opening their mouths wide when they want more food. Infants are able to understand language at a very young age; however, most babies don't begin talking until they are between 12 and 24 months old, and their vocabulary and ability to communicate remain extremely limited for months. This is because infants develop the fine muscles in their hands before they develop the facial and tongue coordination required for speech.

Syifa' at 5mo

Most babies are ready to learn sign language and are able to sign back at around 7 months of age; but each baby is different and some aren't ready until 9 or 10 months. You can start signing to your baby as early as you wish, but don't be discouraged if your baby doesn't respond. Many parents who start too early become bored or frustrated when their baby doesn't sign back and give up. You'll know your baby is ready for signing if he or she can wave bye-bye, hold a rattle, and if she drops something and then looks to see where it went. Once you do start signing, it may take weeks or even months before your baby catches on and begins signing back to you.

According to the studies, infants who learn sign language may actually begin speaking earlier. Infants in these studies started using expressive language at an earlier age, played more with words and ideas, and paired them up before they have even developed the oral motor skills required for speech. At 36 months, the signing babies in the study were speaking, on average, the equivalent of non-signing 47-month-olds; and by age 8, children who had signed as infants had stronger reading skills than those who did not. In addition, studies performed at the University of California found a connection between infant signing and higher IQ scores. They discovered a 12-point difference between a group of second-graders who had signed as babies and those who had not.

Sign language actually can be easily worked into your normal routine and you can learn right along with your baby. Start with simple, need-based, and commonly-used words such as milk, diaper, more, and eat.

These are the tips:
  1. Always pair the spoken word with the gesture.
  2. Always praise your child's attempts, and be excited and animated. If you are bored or frustrated, your child will be too.
  3. Show your baby the sign before and during an activity such as feeding or changing a diaper.
  4. Be consistent - use the sign every time you do the activity.
  5. Stick with one sign until your baby begins to sign it back to you, then choose another sign and start the process over again. But don't abandon the first sign - continue to use it frequently.
  6. Be patient - your child won't learn to sign overnight!
  7. Be flexible - your baby may invent a new sign once she understands that everything has a sign. Feel free to continue using it, or show her the correct sign. Either way, praise her for her efforts.


Faz said...

pnjam syifa' leh tak. wat member ngan hanisah,,hehe..

Mummy Faridah said...

boleh... tp takut hanisah jeles kang ummi dia pegang baby lain..:). Aii, katner ni skrng? kater gi mkn angin..

MIK'YAL said...

gud entry ^--^

tudia debab montel nya syifa !!!!pipi amat labuh hingga tengkuk tidak kelihatan ..geram !!

Mummy Faridah said...


Syifa: Ala auntie... u described it too much la... malu la Syifa...