Friday, November 1, 2013

Learn The Secrets of Teaching Your Baby Sign Language

Learning language is a complicated process, and yet babies manage to do it by following an orderly series of steps. To begin with, they learn to distinguish different sounds, and recognise patterns or syllables that they hear frequently. Tone is also very important, as it conveys the emotion behind the words. A baby watches your face and starts working out what your facial expression means. As an example, if you repeat a baby's name in a high pitched voice, and have a happy, smiling face, very young infants will respond in a positive way quite quickly.A baby usually learns to understand language long before he can say the words himself. A baby can follow simple directions even as young as 4-5 months old. He can recognise often repeated, key words like "no", and "more", their names, and favourite words like "eat"!The main problem is that there's a gap between when a baby can understand language, and when he can communicate in return. This can led to an intense amount of frustration. So if we can find a way to help the baby let us know what he's thinking and feeling, it can reduce the level of frustration in the baby - and in ourselves! It's possible to do this, well before a baby starts using words - it's called "Baby Signs". You can use baby signs as an early way to help baby communicate, and it's also valuable in reinforcing a baby's language development.Teaching a baby sign language is very simple. Take a word you use frequently with the baby, such as "more" or "eat", and make a simple gesture every time you use the word. For example, for "eat", you could point to your mouth. Make sure you use the same gesture every time you use the word. Speak clearly, and face the baby as you say the word. Use an enthusiastic tone, make sure the baby is watching, and when you have baby's attention, repeat the word and gesture a few times.Most parents find that if they start using baby signs around 6-7 months of age, the baby can usually mimic the gestures back to you and communicate what he wants by the time he's around 8-10 months old.Sometimes parents are concerned that the baby will come to rely on signs, and inadvertently delay the development of speech. In fact, most of the time the opposite is true. By using the signs, the language connections in a baby's brain are being created and developed much earlier. This actually tends to give the baby a head start in communicating, and so speed up the process of developing speech. While that may not be true for all babies, it's true for many.In the meantime, baby signs will allow your baby to communicate his wishes and thoughts to you at a much earlier age, and so reduce the frustration many babies suffer before they learn to talk. It will also make it easier for you to understand what baby wants, and so make parenting a lot easier.So baby sign language has two advantages - it helps your baby develop communication skills, and it also helps improve your parenting.