Why should I teach my
baby to sign?
Your baby can develop
a vocabulary of at least 50 words before they have even said their first
spoken word. This has a huge impact on your baby's further language
development as well as reducing their frustration of not being able
to communicate or be understood - this ultimately increases their self
(Please see Benefits of Signing for further
When is the best time to start?
Today - as early
as you like. The sooner you start - the more your baby will learn. By
practicing the signing and getting into the habit is an important tool
for successful signing. The average baby will only start to sign back
anywhere between 6 - 10 months of age. This is provided that there is
at least one person in the baby's life that signs to them on a consistent
basis. Baby will sign back when they are ready.
Is it too late to start
if my baby is already saying a few words?
It is never too
late to start. Most people are visual and when one combines a visual
and auditory medium (to support the spoken language) the language is
reinforced. If your baby or toddler has already started to speak, signing
can still be useful for their further language development and understanding
of concepts. We are never too old to learn.
If I use signs, will it
delay my baby's speech?
No, although many
parents are concerned that if they do sign to their baby that it will
delay speech, or that their baby will become lazy and not want to learn
to talk. Reseach has proven that pre-verbal babies who learn to sign
actually speak sooner and have a larger receptive and expressive vocabulary
than those who don't learn to sign.
Studies also show that
babies who learn to sign tend to have a stronger command of verbal language
and also begin speaking at an earlier age.
A good quote is
is to walking as signing is to talking
Can I make up my own signs?
It is not recommended
that you make up your own signs. However, if your baby is interested
in an object that you don't have a sign for, you might want to make
up a sign for that particular object. Make a mental note of any signs
you decide to "invent" as you can easily forget them and it
becomes confusing for both you and baby. Also should you or baby need
to communicate with the Deaf, or another hearing baby that has learnt
Baby Sign Language you may not be understood.
How long before baby signs back?
Each baby is unique and each baby has their own developmental timeline.
I don't have time
to sign to my baby or learn a new language?
Baby Signing is a very natural process that becomes part of your daily
life and it is not meant to be something that is time consuming or stressful.
Baby Signing can happen at the meal table, while driving in the car
or while playing. Baby Signing involves learning a few iconic signs
which are easily remembered and it is not the same as learning South
African Sign Language with it's unique grammatical structures.
Why is my baby not signing
baby is unique, and will only sign when they are ready to sign, just
like a child will only speak when they are ready to speak. Remain consistent
in signing to your baby, and make the process fun and exciting. Remembering
that if your baby is not signing back to you, you are still building
a wonderful receptive language foundation for them.
Why should I attend a
As Sign Language
is a living visual-spatial language, it is a lot easier to learn face-to-face
with a registered Baby Hands Licensee than on your own. Just as some
people prefer to learn to exercise by attending a class some prefer
a home video. By attending a workshop, you also get to meet parents
who are just as committed to their baby's development as you are. You
are bound to have some fun, laugh a little and grow a lot.
What if I already know
what my baby wants?
Fantastic! It is
great if you already understand your baby's different cries and what
they mean. However, when your baby learns to sign, they can be very
specific in what they are trying to communicate. E.G. your baby is fussing
and you assume that baby is hungry. Wouldn't it be awesome if baby could
sign her specific need such as 'banana' to you?
How does singing affect
my baby's brain development?
A baby's brain
develops quickest in it's first 12 months, acting like a super sponge
absorbing everything around them. Thereafter, between 13 months and
6 years, your baby's brain develops a lot slower than it did in the
first 12 months of it's life. Signing with your baby encourages Whole
Brain Development by stimulating both Left brain (Language) and Right
brain (Vision) at the same time. You get the best of both worlds
Why use music with Sign
language development, special reasoning and organization skills as well
as motivation to communicate. Signing, like music is rhythmical and
the combination provide a natural means by which to practice and interact.
By incorporating signs with nursery rhymes and songs, you are teaching
your baby about the natural rhythms of the spoken language.
How can I contact a registered Baby Hands
Licensee in my area?
Please visit our 'Find an Instructor Page'