Thursday, September 13, 2012

20 Toddler tips in 20 days 15. Signing Babies

Toddler Survival Tip #15

15. Signing Babies

What do they want?
Why are they crying?
How come I don't want to go to him again when he's whiney?
Why do I feel lost?

Ever feel frustrated or disconnected with your baby? It is NORMAL! You are not going crazy. You are not a bad parent because you feel frustrated or you cannot understand what it is your child wants. Many parents struggle in the first two years of parenting because of the guessing factor.

Recently a TV station in Washington DC raised the concern that signing with babies might diminish interaction between babies and parents. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as any parent who lives with a signing baby can testify. 

As a parent of two signing babies, I found that signing with my babies increased the bond we have. I have an older son who is now 21, and I did not sign with him. I found our communication level was difficult and he was speech delayed as well, I wish I would have known about signing back then. My 3 year old and my 14 month both are able to communicate their needs, wants, desires and love to me daily. I was shocked when I heard about this outrageous claim. It is so far off, it's backwards thinking. Signing has only proven to increase the relationship I have with my boys.


First of all, modeling signs for babies means parents:
A. Make more eye contact
B. Activity search out for opportunities to communicate and sign
C. Tend to be more involved in observing what their baby may or may not be signing and communicating to them

Parents tend to sit more with their signing babies for mealtimes, bathtimes, bedtimes, teaching them sign such as MORE, ALL DONE, COLD, LOVE, HELP etc.
Result? MORE interaction other NOT less.

since parents are watching for possible signs they are watching to see if baby
A. Understands the sign
B. Imitates the sign
C. (Most exciting of all) Spontaneous using the sign to direct the parent attention.
Result? Closer observation means more interaction.

Third, once a baby is able to request specific items with signs, everyone's frustration is reduced. 
Result? Fewer tantrums and tears mean more time and emotional energy for pleasant interactions.
Forth, once baby is signing, parent experience the magic of seeing their babies thoughts and ideas. Finding out what fascinates your baby. (ex: butterfly, sound of dog barking, train whistles) You can join in this experience.
Result? Richer and more rewarding interaction for both parent and child.

Next time you hear something that feels so off-base of what you know to be parent/child enriched, consider sharing these points with others.

I love to educate other parents to help better their lives.

Happy Signing!

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