Baby sign language is a new and interactive way for parents to communicate with their babies before they can talk. Most babies don’t speak until well into their second or even third year and this can lead to frustration and tantrums. However, a baby who expects to be understood using sign language is calmer in any situation. Imagine your baby could tell you he wanted his teddy, or more milk, or that he saw a plane! It is a lot of fun for both babies and their parents.
Baby sign language is very simple. Using ISL, Irish Sign Language, parents and their babies learn the signs for the people, objects and emotions they describe every day.
Baby sign language is most suitable for infants between 3 and 23 months old. They start to understand meaning at around 3 months old, and begin to meaningfully communicate from 6 months. Between 6 and 10 months the fine motor coordination needed for gestures and signs also develops. Babies start pointing, raising their hands when they want to be picked up and waving hello and goodbye. Teaching a baby to sign is simply extending their existing gestural vocabulary.
There are many advantages to using sign language with your baby: Firstly it reduces the incidence of tantrums arising from frustration. Signing also encourages your baby to talk – you speak as you sign – and research shows that babies who sign tend to talk earlier than their non-signing counterparts. It also creates a strong parent/child bond. When you spend time signing with your baby, you spend quality time speaking with them, making eye contact and, often, singing and saying rhymes. These fun activities are crucial to a baby’s early development and help their vocabulary, self-expression and confidence by providing them with a responsive and nurturing environment. Research has shown that babies who learn to sign have a greater vocabulary at school-going age and a higher IQ at the age of eight.
Signing is great for emotional development too. When a baby can sign he is tired, calm, excited, sad, happy etc. he is developing an awareness of his emotions, and a vocabulary with which to express them.
Through a six week course you and your baby will learn songs and poems to help you remember those clever signs. Courses are running regularly all over Ireland. See www.superhands.ie
Classes in multiple locations: Bayside, Donabate, Dublin City Centre, Dundrum, Malahide, Ranelagh