The Importance of Signing and Play
Have you ever wondered, “Why isn’t my baby signing back to me yet?” Me too. When I first started signing with my daughter (at 7 months old) I had no prior knowledge of ASL or experience signing with babies. Teaching had not even entered my mind! I just loved the idea of early communication and enhanced bonding. I began by focusing on my daughter’s basic needs, using MORE and ALL DONE during mealtimes. But after two months of repetition and consistency with no response, I naturally started to lose my enthusiasm. What was I doing wrong?
It wasn’t until I decided to focus the majority of my “signing time” on playtime that everything started to click (it was way more fun too!) One afternoon, my daughter and I cuddled up together to watch Baby Signing Time Vol. 2 DVD “Here I Go,” which not only introduces transportation signs, but clothing as well. Her eyes lit up during the song “One Shoe.” Even as a baby she loved clothes and dress up–especially hats!
I was excited to learn the sign for HAT because of a game that we already liked to play. Basically, I would go around the house putting random objects on my head (a bowl, a book, a basket…the sillier the better!) Then I would ask her, “Do you like my HAT?” She would giggle outrageously every time and never seemed to get enough of our silly game! It was great being able to incorporate the sign as we played.
A few weeks later, as I was starting dinner, my daughter scooted in the kitchen and began frantically tapping her head. My immediate reaction was, “Oh my gosh, is something wrong?” She just kept tapping it over and over! Then I paused and ran out of the room. I went into the foyer and grabbed one of her hats which was hanging high on a hook. As I handed it to her, she signed HAT again and the hugest smile came across her face. I’ll never EVER forget that moment of understanding between us…how happy it made her, and how it would ignite my passion to share the joy of signing with as many families as I possibly can.
Kelly Konieczki, mommy to Matilda, age 2,
Baby Signing Time Instructor, Momcat’s Signing Academy