Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baby Signs

I've been signing with M., as I mentioned below, since before he could really focus on my hands and what I was doing, so having him sign "milk" back to me at about 7 months of age was exciting, to say the least. We're still working on "more", "all done", and several other signs, but so far he's only mastered "milk", and he uses it for just about everything.

I've signed with my charges since I started caring for my 4th kiddo in 1997. E.'s mom asked me to read the book she'd purchased, and we started signing right away. E. was very even tempered, and wasn't prone to meltdowns if she couldn't be understood. Her little sister O., on the other hand, was...less of a calm and mellow baby. I am convinced signing saved her from exploding in anger on a regular basis. Just knowing she could communicate basic info to me and to her parents helped her so very much!

I also have found that my charges seem to talk early and prolifically, even as they continue to sign when needed. Of course, this is all anecdotal, but I feel strongly that signing helps encourage all levels and forms of communication, regardless of how many signs a child learns. Once they realize they can "talk" to their adults in any way, the joy of back and forth communication encourages them to keep learning how to talk!

I find, actually, that the more "high maintenance" a child is, the faster they learn to sign and the better they are at it at a very young age. And that may be why M. is kind of just easing into the idea. He's so mellow, generally speaking, that he is able to stay calm and happy even if we adults don't understand what he is telling us.

Of course, he is inventing his own sign for "all done" right now. It involves ripping his bib off, scattering food on the floor, and chattering at me until I start cleaning him up. I think we need to work on using MY sign instead!

If you are looking to learn and use baby signs with your charges, I was recently contacted by and their site has a lot of great information available to help you get started or help you expand your and your child's vocabulary!


Wow said...

Wish the mom of my triplet charges had listened to me about signing. They had (and two them still have at almost 5 y.o.) speech delays, but she didn't want to do sign b/c she read somewhere that it impedes speech.

Sarah said...

I do baby signing with my daughter. She understands quite a few but at 1 yr old now she only signs back milk (and that she did from 5 months). I guess milk is the only big thing to her right now lol!! I wonder if what you say about your little man being very mellow apples to my little girl too. Very chilled and relaxed about life!

Anonymous said...

One of the kids I helped to raise as a family nanny (raised my sisters kids basically doing the work of a nanny but being family) is going to be a mommy come aug. Teen pregnancy but she's got a great support system in me and the rest of the family. Other than her dad having a melt down that didn't last very long everyone been supportive of her and she knows she can count on my help. I have so many plans for this baby and it's not even due yet lol. Things I wished I had more patience for when she was a baby. Reading to them, blanket time (I think and it would help tremendously) and signing. I seem to be the fastest in the family of figuring out what the kids are saying so if everyone can figure out some basic signs the kids won't have a melt down cause mama, grandma/pa, daddy etc will know what they want. Over the years i tend to tune out whinning so if we both learn hopefully there will be less of the whinning. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.