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What is Baby Sign Language?

11 February 2023

Did you know that babies can communicate long before they learn to speak? In fact, research has shown that infants can actually start signing as early as 6 months old! Baby sign language is a way for babies to communicate their wants and needs before they are able to speak. It allows them to express themselves in a clear and concise way and helps parents and caregivers understand what the baby is trying to say. Here are 5 things you should know about baby sign language.

What is Baby Sign Language?

Baby sign language is a visual form of communication that uses hand gestures and body language to convey meaning. It is based on the idea that all humans have the ability to communicate through signing, even before they can speak. Baby sign language has its roots in British Sign Language (BSL), the most common form of sign language used in the United Kingdom. However, baby sign language is not a direct translation of BSL. Instead, it is a simplified version that uses only the most essential gestures. This makes it easier for babies to learn and understand.

Benefits of Baby Sign Language

There are many benefits to using baby sign language, including improved bonding, early literacy skills, and reduced stress levels for both babies and parents/caregivers. Babies who use sign language have been shown to have increased vocabularies, both in terms of spoken words and signs. They are also able to communicate their needs and wants more effectively, which can reduce frustration levels and tantrums. In addition, baby sign language has been shown to promote bonding between babies and parents/caregivers.

Baby Sign Language is not a Replacement for Spoken Language

Baby sign language is used in addition to spoken language, not as a replacement for it. As babies grow older and develop their communication skills, they will gradually start to rely less on signing and more on speaking. This is a natural part of language development and should not be seen as a cause for concern. It is important to remember that baby sign language is a tool to help babies communicate, not a replacement for spoken language.

From What Age Can Baby Sign Language be Taught?

You can start teaching baby sign language as early as 6 months old. However, some experts recommend waiting until your child is around 8-9 months old. This is because babies at this age are better able to understand and follow simple instructions. If you start teaching baby sign language too early, your child may become frustrated and give up.

How to Get Started with Baby Sign Language

If you're interested in using baby sign language with your child, there are some things you should know before getting started. Firstly, it's important to choose a method that's right for you and your family. There are many different approaches to teaching baby sign language, so it's important to find one that you're comfortable with. Secondly, you'll need to familiarise yourself with the most common signs used in baby sign language. These include signs for basic needs such as food, drink, and sleep. Thirdly, you'll need to be patient and consistent when teaching baby sign language. It takes time for babies to learn any new skill, so don't expect them to pick up signing overnight.

Baby sign language is a great way for babies to communicate their wants and needs before they are able to speak. It is a visual form of communication that uses hand gestures and body language to convey meaning. Baby sign language has many benefits, including improved bonding, early literacy skills, and reduced stress levels for both babies and parents/caregivers.

Photo by Kampus Production

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