Learning to Sign
I've been signing with Logan since he was very little. Having worked in Early Childhood Education, I knew the very basic symbols--water, eat/food, more, thank you, please, help. I used these with my students everyday and I was amazed when they used them right back. Learning to sign with your child is a great way to communicate when they can't speak yet.
While I was pregnant with Logan, I saw a YouTube video of a little girl signing to communicate before she was one year old. It was incredible! I decided right then and there that I would sign with Logan from day one in the hopes of him picking it up. Logan is now one, and he still isn't really signing back. He's a feisty little guy and likes to do what he wants, but I continuously use the signs with him and I know one day, he'll just pick it up.
I'm most excited about being able to communicate with him before he's verbal. I know he gets frustrated when I can't understand him, and it's my hope that this will create a bridge.
Right now, I sign water, more, ball, milk, want, eat/food, bird, cat, dog, fish, thank you, help, please, car/drive, mother, father, sleep/tired, and love. I'm still learning basic sign language, but as Logan learns, I want to become fluent as well. We have checked out sign language videos from our local library to help us expand our vocabulary. My husband, myself, and Logan watch them together. Then Eric and I practice, so that we can sign whenever we say that particular word to Logan.
Originally, I was trying to help Logan by moving his hands to form the appropriate sign, but I recently found out that you shouldn't do that from +Joann Woolley. She shared with me that, "You do not move your child's hands just like you (parents) cannot form words for them." I love this comparison so much because I had never looked at it that way! Just like your child learning to speak, they will learn to sign in their own time.
Sign Language is now the United State's third most spoken language, so not only is it a great way to communicate with your child at an earlier age, but it's a great skill to teach them! It will open up a lot of doors that they otherwise might never have had the chance to walk through.
Don't get frustrated if you don't see results immediately. Just like your child learning how to roll over, crawl, or walk, these things take time. If you're patient, I think you'll be very pleased with the end result.
Interesting fact: Just like English, Spanish, and French are all different languages, American Sign Language (ASL) is different from the British or French version.
What techniques do you use to communicate with your children? Do you use sign language?
Featured image found here.
I also subscribe to Sara Bingham, creator of WeeHands, sign of the week poster (pictured above). Subscribe here--it's completely free, so you can begin to learn sign language right away!
Follow Sara-WeeHands on Twitter.
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