What does that spell? :)
Long before babies learn to speak they are often trying to tell you something. Every mother has held a crying child trying to figure out if they want to eat or are missing their pacifier or favorite snuggly toy. Toddlers may throw temper tantrums when they're frustrated at not being able to get their message across. Sign language is an effective communication tool because research suggests children can learn and use signs before they can talk.
There are many available resources for parents to learn sign language. On many websites you can search by a specific word and view a short video of the word being signed. You can also purchase a self-teaching DVD or check your local community center to join a class.
You can begin teaching your baby to sign as soon as you can hold their attention for about ten seconds. Choose easy and familiar words first, like “eat” and “drink.” Abstract words like “sad” or “tired” are difficult for beginners. Try to sign the word whenever you say it so they will begin to grasp the connection between the sign and the word. It is important to be patient and keep repeating the signs. Eventually they will delight you when they tell you they want a drink by signing the word “thirsty.”
Sign language is a beneficial skill your child can retain through life. I learned at 13 years old through free classes offered at my church. After completing the lessons I volunteered as an interpreter in Sunday School for several years. Even without any recent practice I can still remember much of what I was taught and I'm able to communicate well when I meet a deaf person.
You can start doing sign language immediately. Although many people aren't aware of this, there are actually no predetermined signs for people's names. Get creative and make up one for your name now!
From our guest blogger Melissa Choate:
Melissa Choate is a native Phoenician and stay at home mom to a teenage girl and one year old son. Her blog, Nouns and Violets, is about family life and fun stuff in Phoenix. Her pink laptop is like an extra appendage - she is rarely seen without it! When she's not spending time with her family or blogging she's working on a novel that she hopes to finish sometime this century.