Okay, so I feel like I’m geeking out right now. I recently came accross this really cool thing. Like, I’m pretty sure it’s the coolest thing ever for parents and babies. Imagine being able to communicate with your 6 month old baby! Yes, a 6 month old! Imagine that they can actually tell you when they want milk, water, more food, or when they are all done eating. Sounds like a fantasy, am I right? Wrong!
Introducing, BABY SIGN LANGUAGE!
Hear me out. This isn’t just the latest fad of the internet. It’s actually been discovered since the 1800’s. Though, it wasn’t thoroughly researched until the 1980’s and 1990’s. And it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that it actually began to pick up momentum and become mainstream. But now, it has become an integral part of many childcare centers. In a study by Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn, babies who learned to sign had an average IQ 12 points higher than those who didn’t learn sign, by age 8.
Another benefit of Baby Sign Language is that it reduces frustration in babies and gives them an early way of communicating their needs. Thus, resulting in less crying and temper tantrums over time. Isn’t that just the best news for you tired moms out there!?
I don’t know about you, but my number 1 complaint about motherhood is that sometimes I just don’t know why my little baby is crying and it hurts to not be able to fix it fast. Well now, it looks like that problem is only a few months away from being solved. Fingers crossed.
Myths about Baby Sign Language
Sign Language for babies delays speech and hinders development
Just the opposite actually. In the study mentioned before, by 24 months, babies who used Sign language were far more advanced in oral language than those who didn’t. And by 36 months, babies were almost a whole year ahead. It has also been known to improve self-esteem, confidence and parent-child bonding.
BSL isn’t endorsed by educators
False. According to babysignlanguage.com, “More & more, early child development centers, Montessori schools and private caregivers are incorporating BSL to their core curriculum. A high percentage of university-sponsored daycare centers have been using BSL with infants and toddlers since the 90’s. Most educators with a background in language acquisition consider BSL essential when it comes to early childhood education.”
BSL takes too much time and effort. He/She will never learn communication at such a young age.
While they say you can start as early as 6 months with BSL, there is a chance that your baby’s motor skills won’t be developed enough to respond until 8 months. However, many babies know as much as 20-30 signs by 12 months old! All it takes is a quick YouTube search to see tons of babies in action. It really is impressive to watch, in my opinion.
How to teach your baby Sign language
There are a TON of online resources including info graphics, demonstration videos and more to help you self teach your baby.
You could look for a Baby Sign Language Class in your local area if you’d rather trust the professionals.
Things to keep in mind when teaching BSL
Start with just a few basic words like mom, dad, milk and eat. You can choose other words, but just keep it simple starting out.
Always say the word out loud and use repetition. Don’t give up! This is the key to success. And saying the words out loud is key to helping the early development of oral communication.
All babies are different and learn at different speeds. Some people recommend starting BSL at 4-6 months and others say wait until 8-10 months. Don’t get discouraged if your baby doesn’t learn until 10 months old.
And lastly, here’s a helpful graphic you can use
Check out this super helpful info graphic from The Bump, regarding easy signs to start teaching your baby.
So, what’s your take on Baby Sign Language? Is it something you’d like to teach your baby? Or do you already practice this at home? If you do, please tell me how it’s working out for you. This is a topic that I am suuuper interested in right now.