We have been teaching our daughter sign language since she was about 6 months old. She really loves it and has caught on so well. Many people can be skeptical when it comes to teaching a baby sign language. Some have to see it to believe it. Some have never even heard of teaching a baby to sign. If you are any of the above, I suggest you read the Common Myths about Baby Sign Language before you begin.
I mentioned last week that our family has been noticing Pepper doing sign language. Although that is fun, that is not one of the benefits of baby sign language I will talk about. Again, the following list is based completely on our own experiences with teaching our own kids sign language.
Frustrations at the dinner table are cut in half. This is the first benefit you will start to notice. When your child can sign to you “all done” when they are done instead of crying and hoping you get the picture that they are full, it is wonderful. There are many times that Pep is fussing at the table and we will ask her if she is all done. She will say no and when we ask her what she needs she will sign “milk”. We don’t have to guess what she needs because she can tell us. This makes meal times so much nicer.
Polite Manners are taught long before the child can speak. Imagine not having to say please for two years then all of the sudden someone expects you to say please when you want something? When we teach our kids to sign “please” and “thank you” as soon as they begin pointing for things we are doing them a huge favor. This habit will already be in them by the time they begin speaking with their voices.
It establishes a line of communication. When we teach our baby sign language we teach them to communicate to us how they feel. They feel thirsty so they sign drink. They feel hungry so they sign eat. They feel love so they sign love. We often tell our 14 month old, “Don’t just yell, tell me what you need.” And she calms down and communicates to us what the problem is. She may not use sign language to communicate the problem but we have already established to her that she can communicate to us so she does her best to tell us what the problem is. 9 times out of 10 we can figure it out.
I am sure others can think of many more benefits to sign language. Maybe you have taught your child sign language. What are some benefits you’ve noticed?