Baby sign language is a really fun and easy way to help your baby to communicate with you before they can talk. Signing is about giving your child a visual clue and action to what you are saying, and giving them a way to copy and ‘chat’ back. At Little Hands Baby Sign we are using signs borrowed from British Sign Language (BSL) and learning how to use signs in everyday family life.
We all use gestures to communicate; pointing, clapping and waving. From about 6 months old your baby can use their hands and communicate through simple gestures and signs. Talking typically develops from about 18 months or so and involves a lot more coordination, moving your lips, tongue, cheeks and use your voice. It’s much easier to open and close your hand to sign ‘milk’ than it is to say it. Using baby sign language is a bridge between these two stages and can give you a wonderful opportunity to share things, ease frustration, stop tantrums and enjoy a chit chat with your little one.
Look at our super signer signing ‘more’ at just 5 months old. Her sign is subtle and not quite in the right place, but she is communicating! The key with baby sign language to to pick a few useful signs and use them as much as you can everyday. Keep watch for signs and give lots and lots of praise which will give your baby confidence to sign again. Remember, we are always talking when we sign, to help your babies hear the word and make the connection to the sign. Let’s get start with our Top 10 starter signs.
‘I have really enjoyed attending Little Hands Baby Sign classes. Within a few weeks she was signing the odd word and now confidently uses signing throughout the day to tell me she wants more food, has spotted a dog in the street or to simply say thank you. It has opened up a whole new world for us in which we can easily and effectively communicate without words and has made life with a 14 month old that little bit easier”. Natasha, Ealing
Many parents in the UK will probably have come across Mr Tumble and his Something Special programme on Cbeebies by now. Mr Tumble is fantastic at brining signing right into our living rooms and he is using Makaton signs. Makaton is also borrowed from British Sign Language, but you may find a few variations. Read more about this in our Makaton and Baby Sign blog, but most importantly use the signs you remember and that your child knows.
I’m a parent just like you and I’ve been signing with our two small people since they were about 6 months old. They have both loved it; our son was all about transport and trains, while our daughter was all about animals. All our family knew their key signs and it really allowed them to be ‘heard’ from a young age, even it it was ‘yes, another place in the sky’! We are still signing in our house 6 years later!
Signing with my children did not them talking, far from it. It gave them a clear way to express themselves; which eased their frustrations and boosted confidence as they knew they could be understood. It also helped me to listen and pay attention to the smallest of signs. We also had a lot of fun! You can also read our ‘Will baby sign stop my baby taking?’ blog for more information.
See you soon,
Little Hands Baby Sign classes run Ealing Broadway, Hanwell and Brentford, West London. Find out more about the classes here.