What is Baby Signing?
Baby signing is about good communication between you and your baby. It’s an excellent way to communicate “two-way“. From around 6 months old, babies can understand you and they are having plenty of thoughts of their own BUT they cannot tell you what those thoughts are and that is frustrating!
The good news is your baby is developing their hand co-ordination and can learn many signs to communicate their message to you. Signing bridges the ‘I know what I want but can’t say it yet’ gap. In short, it gives your child a temporary tool for the job until speech comes along and this is a great relief for a frustrated baby and frazzled parents!
The signs can easily be fitted in your normal routine. There is no need to set separate time aside to teach your child. They will pick up the signs as you sign and speak to them. Signing babies can lead conversations and introduce topics to ‘talk’ about. They can communicate and be satisfied before crying is even a possibility.
You get an early insight into their thoughts and because there is more interaction and understanding, the bond between you strengthens. As your child starts to speak more they will sign less, but the benefits of signing with your baby continue long after the baby years – signing babies have been shown to go on to speak earlier, have wider vocabularies and even higher IQ’s than non-signing babies in general.
Dexters Favourite Signs
fingerspelt ‘M’ and tap twice
fingerspelt ‘F’ taps together twice
flat hands are held crossed on the chest.
Full/had enough food
bent hand moves up to contact underside.
hands open and close in up and down squeezing movements.
Right flat hand taps back of left flat hand twice.
Palm up flat hands move apart as shoulders shrug.
Bunched hand makes two short movements to the mouth.
Head tilts to rest on flat hand.
Palm down flat hand wafts up and down in front of the nose.
Will signing with my baby delay their speech?
How do I get started
What is the best age to introduce signs?
How long will it take for my baby to produce signs
This varies between each individual baby and can depend on:
- how often they are signed to
- whether each carer signs to them
- how interested they are
- how old they are: the older the child the quicker the skills are learnt.
All babies free from developmental delays should be able to produce signs, so consistency and persistency are essential. The results could be seen in hours, days, weeks or months. Allowing the child time to respond is also important, as is gauging whether the child is simply copying your actions or actually understanding and responding properly. This recognition will increase with age.
Does it work?
I have heard of baby signing classes before. What make TalkFirst different?
There are 2 things that make us unique:
- TalkFirst has a step by step approach which helps you build up your signs and gain confidence. Each week a small number of signs are introduced around a central theme e.g. bath time. All the songs, rhymes and activities for that week reinforce the vocabulary so by the end of the session you are very comfortable in using the signs.
- We have fun with Dexter. Dexter is a large signing puppet – he is dextrous and can sign beautifully. He has been created especially for TalkFirst and he loves babies! Dexter has a range of products available which will help you sign at home.
Was TalkFirst baby signing developed for deaf babies?
People from all walks of life have found the benefits of baby signing, and at TalkFirst all the signs are used purely as tools for language development. This is because TalkFirst is not about deafness; it is about communication. All the songs and rhymes used at TalkFirst are well known and traditionally used, that is to say, TalkFirst is based very much in the hearing world. TalkFirst baby signing helps all babies:
- talk sooner
- lead conversation
- feel less frustrated
- build strong foundations for early literacy.
- create self confidence
- improve their intellectual development.