Proven Benefits of Using Sign Language With Your Kids

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C.

Baby sign language has lots of benefits and many people are on board with signing with babies. But what about using sign language for kids who have developed some spoken language? Should you still sign? While there may naturally be a (sometimes temporary) downturn in using sign after spoken language emerges, we say stick with it! The benefits are vast. In fact, we have 60 great reasons to keep signing compiled for you here. A big shout out and thanks to our amazing Signing Time Facebook communities for helping with this list!

You should still sign with a child who can speak because…

1. It is fun!
2. It is convenient in loud places
3. It is the first language of the Deaf community and can help your child communicate with someone who is Deaf
4. It is an authentic second language so your child is learning to be bi-lingual
5. It adds to language development
6. It is multi-sensory so children with a wide variety of learning preferences and strengths benefit
7. It gives additional tools to communicate when words might fail
8. It’s a great life-long skill
9. It’s a good skill for the parents, too
10. It can help alleviate a meltdown
11. It helps to reinforce and teach new words
12. It helps a child understand there is more than one way to communicate with people
13. It can help as language is developing when toddler words aren’t always clear
14. A child may be able to express more complex messages in sign than in words at first
15. You can always be learning something new
16. Big siblings can help teach little siblings
17. It helps alleviate frustration
18. It is a beautiful language
19. It can be a very peaceful way to communicate
20. It supports kids with partial hearing loss
21. It can be helpful in the case of an unexpected onset of hearing loss
22. It can improve coordination and motor skills
23. It can be a fun secret language in a family
24. You can communicate from further away than if you were only speaking
25. You can correct a behavior in public without the whole room hearing
26. Babies who sign can become big kids who sign, and the progression feels really natural
27. It is a bonding activity for the family
28. It assists a typically developing child with communication with a sibling or friend who has special needs
29. You never know when you will need it!
30. You might end up at a church or other organization with a large Deaf population and you will be ready to say hello
31. Children respond better to signing than yelling
32. Signing at the dinner table cuts down on talking with your mouth full
33. It helps you connect with small children
34. It can be helpful if your child has a stutter, apraxia, or another spoken language challenge
35. It can act as a cue for a spoken word when a child is struggling with recall
36. It allows a child to sign when they are feeling strong emotions and don’t want to talk
37. It can serve as a bridge between two spoken languages
38. It can help a child communicate after surgery
39. You don’t have to read lips in noisy places
40. It expands the mind
41. It shows the concept of a word in “pictures” so kids understand the meaning
42. It is a great support when learning spelling
43. It supports word recognition
44. It can help organize thoughts and ideas
45. It enhances the reading process by engaging a child in a book
46. It can intrigue reluctant readers to sign along with reading
47. It supports learning the ABCs
48. It supports vocabulary development
49. It has been shown to increase IQ
50. It can enhance math skills
51. It can enhance music skills
52. Your child can teach classmates how fun it is to sign
53. It encourages using manners when signing PLEASE and THANK YOU, etc.
54. You never know when you’ll have a great conversation with a Deaf person who notices you’re signing in public
55. You may be able to help a Deaf person who is having trouble with getting something communicated in public
56. It can aid memory and retention of words and concepts
57. It is an awesome aid for potty training
58. It is great to use as a distraction when waiting in long lines or at a restaurant
59. Kids are excited to learn and excited about sign language – it is the perfect pairing!
60. Because at the end of the day, there is no reason not to sign!!

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