As parents, we are constantly inundated with advertising for the latest “craze” that is supposed to be the best thing for our children.
You know what I mean. Everything from organic foods to the “best ” type of diaper on the market, to educational software and videos designed to make your child ready for college by the ripe old age of five.
How are we supposed to know what really is legit and what is just a marketing ploy?
One of the popular learning opportunities available these days is baby sign language. Just walk into your local bookstore and check out the shelves to see what’s available. Teach Your Tot To Sign, Baby Signs, Sign, Sing and Play, Sign With Your Baby. The list goes on and on.
But how do you know if sign language is really worth the time and effort?
From my own personal experience, it is.
If you look around the web and google sign language, infants, research, you’ll get some interesting information.
Here are some important points to ponder when deciding if signing is something you wish to pursue:
1. Children as young as 3 months of age can use simple signs such as “Milk,” “More,” and “Eat” to make their needs known.
2. Using sign language with a pre-verbal infant will NOT delay spoken language development. In fact, it has been shown that children who are exposed to signing develop spoken language earlier than those children not exposed to sign language, they tend to have larger vocabularies, read earlier, and are more likely to read for pleasure than their non-signing counterparts.
3.Early communication opportunities such as using sign language, help decrease a child’s frustration level, because he or she is able to make needs known to caregivers.
4.Using sign language has been shown to decrease tantrums that are often caused by a child’s inability to express wants and needs verbally.
5.Certain centers in the brain develop earlier than others. One area that develops sooner is the area that controls gross motor skills. This is why a child will roll over, pick his/her head up, and grasp at objects before his or her first words are spoken. It takes longer for infants to learn how to coordinate the muscles that control the lips and tongue. By using sign language, the gross motor skills can be put to use for communication until the facial muscles catch up to develop speech.
6. Because many children with hearing loss are mainstreamed into their home school districts, the odds are that your child may have someone deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech delayed who use sign language as the primary form of communication in the classroom. This opens the door to increased understanding of differences, and your child will be able to communicate with those peers.
7. Signing also opens doors later in life, because many high schools and colleges are now offering American Sign Language for foreign language credit. American Sign Language is the third most widely used language in the United States (behind English and Spanish).
Below are some links that you may find useful is finding out why using sign language to communicate with infants is beneficial. Check them out. Then check back with me in a couple of days to learn more about the different types of signing programs that are out there, and how to decide which one is right for you.
How To Find Classes In Your Area.
What if There Aren’t Local Classes? How Do I Begin?
What Am I Looking For? Early Response to Signing.
My Family Thinks I’m Crazy: Dealing With Naysayers.