Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Signing with Babies, Much More than "MORE", "MILK", and "EAT"

I was pushing my eleven-month old son, J.J. in his stroller through the mall when he began to frantically wave his arm and turn his head as if to look behind us. I didn't think much of it and decided to keep going, however, my son had other ideas!

I was forced to turn around to avoid the scene I was afraid he might make. I retraced our steps to find a happy little J.J. dancing in his stroller. We had passed a store that was playing loud
music and my little dancer had found a beat he couldn't resist. That was the first time J.J. signed "music."

Until recently, signing with pre-verbal babies simply meant teaching the signs for "more," "milk," and "eat." Occasionally I even found a few parents that also incorporated "please" and "thank you" into their child's signing vocabulary. Today, signing with pre-verbal babies has taken on a whole new meaning.

Parents and caregivers are beginning to realize the benefits of teaching additional signs to babies and toddlers. Signing daily activities, favorite animals, and opposites gives parents and caregivers a window into the minds of babies and toddlers. Before they can vocalize what's
going on in their little heads, they can show us through sign.

As parents and caregivers, we learn to put up with a certain amount of whining and crying from our little ones on a daily basis. Although I was growing accustomed to it, I could tell that little J.J. was beginning to feel quite frustrated. That is when I decided it was time to teach him the sign for "help." Within a week, this became our favorite sign!

J.J. would sign, "help" throughout the day and I would enthusiastically answer his silent cry for assistance. This created a much happier J.J. (and Mommy) and we began to enjoy our time together even more. Signing allows us to connect with babies very early in their lives and helps us to see them as little people that have needs and wants, likes and dislikes, very similar to ours. This makes the bond that parents and caregivers experience with babies and toddlers even stronger!

Article by: Kelly Robson
Kelly is a fellow Sign2Me Instructor from Omaha, NE

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