Baby signing helps babies learn to communicate before they can talk
Baby signing is a form of pre-verbal communication. Babies understand so much before they can talk! From as early as 6 to 9 months old, babies can begin to tell you what they want, what they are thinking about and how they feel.
No longer do you have to ‘guess’ the cry! (Tired? Hungry? Hot? Cold? Damp nappy? Aargh!) My own son reminded me, by baby signing, that I had not given him his morning milk thank you very much!
Signing babies can also tell you so much more than just these basic needs. For example, they can tell you that they have seen a ‘duck’ in the park or that they are excited that it is ‘bath’ time!
“Being able to communicate is a fundamentally important part of human development.
Baby signing builds upon the natural use of gesture and other nonverbal signals by preverbal infants, greatly enhancing their communication repertoire.
Without spoken or sign language, children's communication is pretty much restricted to the immediate here and now, for example being able to point at what they want.
Once they can speak or sign they are able to tell us about their past experiences, future desires, thoughts and feelings.”
- Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon,
Senior Lecturer, University of Stirling
Babies’ control of their hands develops long before their control of their vocal cords and co-ordination of the movement of lips, tongue and teeth to make understood speech sounds as recognised words (often as late as 18 months).
Baby signing bridges this very wide gap - aiding communication, giving them a means to begin to understand everything! Early language development and understanding also encourages early speech as the signs are always said at the same time.
Babies’ initial words will be inaccurate but will develop with maturity.
Baby signing also strengthens the child-parent/carer understanding and bond.
And baby signing also reduces frustration, boosts self-esteem and self-confidence: in short making for very happy parents and carers and even happier babies!