Using sign language with your little one is such a valuable and useful tool that we incorporate signing activities into all our classes at Tots Play. We introduce it with our youngest babies at our Baby Development Course, build on those skills at Discovery Tots and continue to practise, as speech starts to emerge, with our Social Tots.
Learning the sign for "clean" at Discovery Tots.
At whatever stage you join us, it’s not too early or late to begin to see the benefits. But why is it such a beneficial skill for our little ones to learn?
Well, there are all sorts of great reasons to sign with your baby, but here are our top 5:
1) Your baby will probably talk sooner
Many parents initially worry that teaching a baby to communicate before they speak will delay their actual speech development. Evidence however is to the contrary. Children who experiment with language before they develop oral skills are learning about the process of communication earlier. As their physical development catches up and they are able to form clearer sounds and words, they already have a strong foundation of understanding.
2) Your baby might cry less
Babies are desperate to interact with the world around them; they want their voice to be heard. It is very frustrating for a baby to feel this way when they physically have no voice. The only inbuilt way they communicate is through crying. Trying to decipher what they want when they only have one response can be very challenging for a parent. Baby signing opens up a vocabulary of different words, feelings or concepts that they can express to you. Being heard reduces their need to cry.
3) It’s natural for babies to sign
A baby is not usually physically able to talk until they are more than a year old, however all parents will tell you that their baby still finds different ways to communicate with them using gestures. Perfect examples of this include lifting their arms to be picked up or waving their arms when they are excited. It is natural for babies to use their limbs to tell you things and baby signing simply capitalises on this and gives it a structure to aid understanding.
Signing "All Done/Finished"
4) Signing gives your baby confidence
Being able to be understood is a big confidence boost for your baby. When they are able to communicate with you and you are able to respond and meet their needs quickly, they feel valued. Baby signing gives you the opportunity to do this and as a result your baby’s self-esteem will naturally develop as well.
5) Signing is a great way to bond with your baby
Parents who teach their babies to sign have a great little insight into their little ones' thought processes. A visit to a farm or to the park can become enriched by your child sharing their experiences with you in a truly unique and special way. Understanding one another is a key aspect of bonding and baby sign allows you both to enjoy this luxury very early on.
The sign for "nappy".
Learn to Sign at Tots Play
At Tots Play, you can learn a range of simple signs like milk, more, clean and nappy (pictured above), that you can use at home every day so you can easily start to see some of these benefits for yourself. We like to have fun while learning to sign, so we use lots of songs, props and instruments to help us, making it really easy to join in and remember the different signs.
If you would like to learn more about using sign language with your baby, you can get started with our Songs for Signing Guide HERE, and come and join us at a class to have some fun putting signing into practice. Find a class near you HERE.
We would love to hear about your experiences of using sign language with your little one. Why not share them with us on our Facebook page. We can't wait to hear from you.
Signing is just one of a range of developmental play activities you can enjoy at Tots Play, where you and your little one will also be invited to join in with baby yoga, massage, music, sensory and physical play at our interactive classes, divided into different age groups in order to provide the greatest benefits. Learn more about our full programme HERE.
Babies are Amazing!
Do you like the idea of signing but wondering if babies can really communicate this way? We often underestimate just what our amazing babies are capable of, and signing is one of those things that, once you get started, you will be amazed how quickly your baby will pick it up and start using it. Don't believe us? Take a look at some of our Tots Play babies showing their skills in this short video.
So what you are waiting for? Take the first steps to better communication with your baby and learn a sign or two with us today.
Happy playing and happy signing!
Click HERE to Subscribe to our Blog for regular updates and activity ideas.