Baby sign language is extremely beneficial to you, your child, and your relationship. As you learn to effectively communicate together through simple signs and gestures you will have the opportunity to grow closer, learn a new skill together, better understand each other, and the cognitive benefits for your child are almost innumerable. Babies have the necessary motor skills needed to learn basic signals and actions months before their first birthday. When your child is better able to communicate with you, you can reduce their frustration (and your own), boost their confidence, help jump-start their language skills and brain development, and have fun together! Learn about the following benefits of learning baby sign language with your little one and stop wasting time with miscommunication now!
Many tantrums are triggered by miscommunication. Spending hours guessing what your child wants or needs leads to frustration on both your part and theirs. Because sign language increases your child’s ability to communicate, it can reduce their frustration and thus reduce their tantrums. Babies learn to understand language long before they learn to speak it. This gap in their ability to understand and their ability to communicate their wants and needs becomes increasingly frustrating and leads to crying, screaming; you know the drill.
Most children don’t learn to speak effectively until 18 to 24 months, however, many children are usually able to learn to sign around 8 to 9 months. Because motor skills are developed earlier than the needed skills to control your speech, sign can be taught much sooner than your child can demonstrate comprehensible speech. Get to the root of the problem faster when you and your baby communicate through baby sign language. You don’t have to spend time guessing what your baby or toddler is trying to say and instead start teaching them to communicate earlier and better.
Being able to use sign language more effectively for communication will save you hours of sleep, the embarrassment of public tantrums, and all the woes that come with guessing your baby or toddlers needs. This will enable you to spend more time bonding with your little one and less time dealing with what can be infuriating miscommunication. Tantrums are sometimes unavoidable, but they can certainly be reduced with effective communication.
As you spend less time guessing your baby’s needs and more quality time together, signing can lead to increased bonding between you and your child. As you watch Baby Signing Time and learn to sign, use those signs with your baby. He will begin to understand what the sign means. For instance, when giving a bottle of milk or nursing, say and sign, “It’s time for your MILK.” Good communication leads to a good relationship. Spending less time and energy miscommunicating and dealing with the frustrations that come from that—i.e. tears and tantrums—will provide you with more opportunity to forge your bond and come closer together. You can better meet each other’s needs and understand each other. Spend less time in distress and more time bonding in more positive ways.
Aside from better communication, you can also bond over fun activities. Use the signs that you know when you play games, sing and sign songs, or participate in other interactive things to further develop your relationship. This time spent bonding will lead you and your child to be more in tune with each other.
When communication is coming more easily to you and your young one, you are not only better able to understand each other, but also to get to know each other. Once your child is able to express more of their desires and interests, you will be able to get to know your child more. Their personality will become more apparent as they are able to better express themselves. Get to know each other better before your baby can even talk!
More effective communication with your child will increase their self-esteem as well as your own. Learning is developed through patterns and repetition. When communication isn’t working, and a pattern of frustration and confusion is established, it can damage confidence. Your child’s lack of confidence may lead to more tantrums or their withdrawing from social interaction altogether. When a child feels misunderstood or unable to express themselves, it is common for them to turn inward. In contrast, the more they are able to successfully communicate, the more likely they are to communicate and reach out.
As a parent, your confidence may be shaken when you aren’t able to understand your child as well. We have a desire to meet the needs of our children, to provide for them, which is very hard to do when you don’t understand what they want or need. When you use sign language to communicate more effectively and are better able to meet the wants and needs of your child, your self-esteem will be boosted.
Baby sign language can help your child progress further in their communication skills and cognitive abilities, which will increase their self-esteem later on as well. This ability to relay their thoughts will also enhance their self-expression. As they are better able to express themselves, their self-esteem will grow, and they will begin a pattern of learning in confidence. Give them a confidence boost early on as you encourage communication with baby sign language.
Early exposure to learning that comes with baby sign language may lead to a higher IQ for your child. Baby sign language helps children and parents to quickly move past the frustration and fits of miscommunication and can help them move onto developing words and phrases sooner. Learning to sign can increase your child’s ability to learn and grow both now and in the future. It has been shown that the cognitive benefits of baby sign language can include earlier reading, a larger reading, and speaking vocabulary, better performance in school, and a higher IQ.
Learning to commit signs and words to memory helps to stimulate your baby’s brain development. Because sign language uses both the right and left hemisphere of the brain, unlike spoken language that only uses the left hemisphere, it leads to the brain building more synapses. These kinds of connections made early on in life, give your child a little bit of jump start in the development department. Start signing now and you will see the benefits for years to come. ¹
Another benefit to baby sign language—an increased vocabulary for your child. This happens because signing can help your child develop language skills earlier on, meaning they start to develop some of the mental processes needed to learn speech and vocabulary. This speeds up speech development, giving your child a boost early on. Early speech development can be especially beneficial for children diagnosed with dyslexia.²
Studies have shown that by age two, children who have learned baby sign language already have a larger vocabulary than those who have not. A larger vocabulary in speech and in reading will benefit your child greatly in their ability to learn and communicate. Children become more comfortable with themselves and their abilities as their vocabulary increases. They will be able to advance in their reading abilities, which will enhance their education. An increased vocabulary will also help them to become more comfortable with speaking and expressing their thoughts. (All About Baby Sign Language, Gina Bevinetto Feld, Parents Magazine 2018)
One of the many cognitive benefits to your child after starting early communication with baby sign language is an enhanced memory. Research has found that associating signs and actions with words help the brain to retain a stronger memory. For example, when a child learns a word in conjunction with a sign, they are more likely to remember and understand the meaning of the word. When babies learn to sign before they even hit a year of age, they start learning to remember actions to communicate, this helps children to remember words because there is a muscle memory involved. (Teaching Sign Language to Hearing Children as a Possible Factor in Cognitive Enhancement, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 1998 Oxford University Press)
The more senses that are involved in learning, the more likely it is to be committed to memory. Baby sign language uses visual, verbal, and physical senses. All of these representations of information provide the brain with more opportunity to learn memorization early on as it is stored in a variety of places in the brain. The ability to recall past event associated with a word or sign because easier and easier as a child develops that muscle memory.³
Help your little one to develop a love of learning early on as you learn baby sign language with them. Have fun with signing as you incorporate interactive games and songs to educate your child and bond with them. Making learning fun early on can encourage a love of learning later on. There are many games to play in sign that will not only help your baby to learn sign but also entertain them for hours on end. This form of entertainment will be one of the most beneficial ways to spend time with your baby as they learn and grow. Incorporating song into learning to sign can also be very beneficial. Adding music to learning helps the brain retain the memory, plus it’s fun! Enjoying the process of learning is a great motivator to continue to learn. Establish a habit of fun learning early in your child’s life.