As baby sign language becomes more common, new parents begin to wonder if it’s something they should be using. A way of communicating with a baby before they master speaking, baby sign language can be introduced to an infant from around four to six months of age. It involves teaching a baby to use specific hand gestures to explain what they want or how they are feeling.
While it sounds really neat, it is something else to learn on top of an already busy life as a new parent. Is it worth it?
5 Benefits of Using Baby Sign Language
Not knowing what is wrong with your baby, or what they want is incredibly frustrating! If only they could tell you what the problem was…
Well, they can, and it’s called baby sign language. Here are five benefits to introducing it to and using it in your family:
- Easier communication between your baby and others – imagine knowing that your baby was hungry or thirsty, rather than having to guess. They could tell you when they were cold, wanted a cuddle or simply have had enough to eat.
- Great bonding with your child – studies have found that parents who sign with their babies feel closer and more in tune with their needs.
- Increased cognitive abilities – studies also found that children who used baby sign language when they were younger had a larger speaking and reading vocabulary than their peers who didn’t.
- Improved motor skill development – signing requires your baby to use their hand, arm and fingers. Through the practice and repetition of signing, they begin to master even small accurate fine motor skills with their fingers.
- Happiness and self-confidence – when your baby can express their needs and wants, they’re going to feel content and have high self-esteem levels.
So, now you’re sold on the idea, how can you get signing in your home?
How Do I Learn More About Baby Sign Language?
We suggest you check out YouTube and watch some of the videos others have published. There are many passionate parents who are happy to share their experiences via videos. You could also pay for lessons from one of the many sign teachers around NZ. Your Plunket nurse would be a good resource as to what is available locally. We’ve also found a downloadable resource of sign flash cards for you to check out too.
We used it in our household wth both children, it was amazing!