One of the scariest parts of bringing home a new baby is that we, as adults, must guess what each new cry means. The whining cry, the frustrated cry, the blood curdling hungry cry and every cry in between all sound the same when a parent is running on empty. The result is frustration for both the baby and the parents.
What if there were a way to communicate with your baby before he or she were able to speak? Fortunately, there is; it is called Baby Sign Language and although not widely adopted, it has been around for years, and those who have used it are quick to say how rewarding the practice is. The muscles in an infant's hands develop long before he or she can speak, and they already have a vocabulary or basic instructions with which they use to communicate. Most babies naturally do things such as pointing, or making a grabbing gesture. This is their form of signing. Baby Sign Language simply takes this natural ability and expands on it to create a range of clear signals that both baby and parents can use and understand.
Through hand motions, babies can communicate their wants and needs and parents can breathe a sigh of relief as much of the guess work is made obsolete. Signing does not have to be difficult and no prior experience is necessary. Books and DVDs can quickly provide parents with the basic information needed to start using these signals. What better gift for a new parents than the key to communicating with their child months before they utter their first words?
Practicing sign language with your baby can begin when he or she is around six months old. It is not an overnight process, and weeks or months may pass before your little student makes his or her first sign, so patience is needed. However, a little perseverance is bound to pay off in the long run.
Getting your feet wet is as simple as choosing a few basic signs to start off with. For your 'training' sessions you will want to be sure that your baby is alert and content; as with any age of child they will learn better when they aren't grumpy, tired or hungry. Most experts advise beginning with signing "up" when you pick him or her up. You can also try signing "milk" during feedings. As the baby will see both of these signs repeatedly each day, they are two of the quickest to be recognised. Go slowly and be consistent.
Signing offers many benefits for babies and parents. Bonding and trust can be greatly improved. Babies who are introduced to signing may speak earlier, understand their native language sooner, have an easier time learning other languages later in life and may even have a higher I.Q. For both parents and signing babies, frustration will be significantly lessened due to the ability to communicate and understand without speech.
For more information and products about Baby Sign Language, check out the following websites: