Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Our Baby Signs Program & Benefits!

This friend from our Toddler classroom is demonstrating the sign for "more".

Each day at Holly Tree, our children are constantly learning; from colors, shapes, and numbers to sign language. In our Infant/ Toddler programs we use the Baby Signs program as an educational and effective tool to teach our little ones communication skills. Each week our children are learning new baby signs, along with daily signs like: please, thank you, more, and eat. 

According to Dr. Jay L. Hoecker with the The Mayo Clinic, baby signs are a very helpful communication tool for young children even infants. He states that when babies use modified gestures from American Sign Language, this can be an effective communication tool. Teaching and practicing baby sign language also can be fun and give you and your child an opportunity to bond.

Research suggests that baby sign language might give a typically developing child a way to communicate several months earlier than those who only use vocal communication. This might help ease frustration between ages 8 months and 2 years when children begin to know what they want, need, and feel but don't necessarily have the verbal skills to express themselves. Children who have developmental delays might benefit, too. Further research is needed, however, to determine if baby sign language promotes advanced language, literacy or cognition.

To begin teaching your child baby sign language, familiarize yourself with signs through books, websites or other sources. To get the most out of your baby sign language experience, keep these tips in mind:

This friend in our Toddler classroom is demonstrating the sign for "eat".

Set realistic expectations 
Feel free to start signing with your child at any age — but remember that most children aren't able to communicate with baby sign language until about age 8 months.

Keep signs simple
Start with signs to describe routine requests, activities and objects in your child's life — such as more, drink, eat, mother and father. Choose signs that are of most interest to your child.

Make it interactive
 Try holding your baby on your lap, with his or her back to your stomach.
Embrace your baby's arms and hands to make signs. Or carry your baby and make the sign on his or her body. Alternate talking and not talking while signing. To give signs context, try signing while bathing, diapering, feeding or reading to your baby. Acknowledge and encourage your child when he or she uses gestures or signs to communicate.

Stay patient
 Don't get discouraged if your child uses signs incorrectly or doesn't start using them right away. The goal is improved communication and reduced frustration — not perfection. However, avoid accepting indiscriminate movements as signs.

Keep in mind that, as you teach baby sign language, it's important to continue talking to your child. Spoken communication is an important part of your child's speech development.

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