Teaching Your Baby Sign Language

Babies are wonderful creatures, but it can be very difficult to know what they want exactly. Communicating with a baby is one of the hardest parts of being a parent. Yet, according to an article in The Sun, communicating with your baby isn’t as impossible as it first seems. Although babies do not speak any languages, they do communicate from the moment they are born. Discerning what babies are saying, is the difficult bit, and it’s a task that experts have undertaken. A baby is rapidly going through critical periods of development in which it acquires speech and language. As they grow older, their communication skills evolve and become more sophisticated and complex. They start to understand language and how to use it in order to express themselves and connect with others. A baby’s most important communication role models are its parents, caregivers and family members. As the article in The Sun suggests, you can use your daily interactions with your baby to help them in their developmental journey.

Meal times can be especially difficult for parents to navigate through. Does your baby like what it’s being fed? Is it hungry? Does it want more? Well, you know how babies pound on the table when they’ve done eating? That’s not some kind of protest. One mum, Mary Smith, has discovered that that motion has a very specific meaning. May is something of an expert in this field. She runs a program called Sign ‘n’ Grow, which teaches baby sign language classes. 

Mary posted a video on her Instagram account, and said that this motion indicates that the baby is still hungry. She believes that this can be used as an opportunity for the baby’s parents or caregivers to model the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for “more”. This allows the mother to communicate that she sees that the baby wants “more food”, to offer “some more”, and to say that someone gave the baby “more”. In this way, the baby learns alternative ways to communicate that they are still hungry. By continuing to use the sign when giving the baby food, the baby learns to understand and model the sign.

Some baby’s pound on the table for reasons other than that they are hungry. Sometimes they just want to make a racket. Sometimes they are just testing your reaction. Or it could be something else completely. However, if you believe that your baby often bangs on the table when they are hungry, then you can use this to teach them how to communicate better. It may take a few months for the baby to start modelling the sign, but once they do, they can use it in other, more creative ways. For instance, Mary’s baby can sign that she wants to play more. So the next time you see your baby pounding on its Franklin & Ben, think about using that as a teaching moment to get your child to make the sign for more. This could be the building block to a richer conversation between you and your baby. 

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