Are you finding yourself frustrated at the inability to understand and fully communicate with your toddler? You are not alone. While baby’s brain is developing at rapid speeds, full sentence communication doesn’t normally occur until around age 4. This leaves the first few years with little ability to understand what your toddler is trying to convey. Thankfully, many parents have found that using baby sign language has transformed their ability to communicate with their child.
What is Baby Sign Language?
Similar to American Sign Language, baby sign language uses modified hand gestures that have developed from a natural stage in infancy. Children are born with the desire to use their hands for movement, but it is the parent’s job to develop that desire into a skill. Baby sign language uses simple hand and arm movements to allow your child to communicate.
What are the Benefits of Baby Sign Language?
As stated earlier, children will not begin to have full conversations until around age 4. Even at age 3, verbal communication is only effective about 75% of the time. By teaching your child baby sign language, you break down barriers in communication and allow your child’s cognitive ability to expand. Studies have shown that children who use baby sign language from early on begin speaking earlier, develop an expanded vocabulary, and are more likely to have a higher IQ average among their peers. You will also find that by using baby sign language with your child, you are also developing a stronger bond that allows your child to feel confident and secure. Frustration levels decrease with both parents and children. Research also supports that baby sign language helps parents become more in tune to their child’s nonverbal cues and more in tune to what their child’s body language is saying.
How Soon is Too Soon?
It is never too soon to start your child on baby sign language; however, most babies don’t start picking up signs until around month 8. Starting with simple, everyday signs will be most effective to begin- signs like “eat”, “milk”, and “more” are great ways to start. You will find that as your child begins to understand more, you will be able to introduce more signs and incorporate these signs into everyday life.
Overall, your ability and desire to communicate with your child is in your hands as a parent. Trying baby sign language and hand gestures may be a life changing skill in your parenthood journey.