There are a huge number of benefits to signing with your baby. The research continues to show these many benefits, but we also know from our first hand experience how powerful it can be.
Earlier communication – Babies physically do not have the ability to use spoken words until around 10 months. However, their fine motor skills and understanding of language are often earlier to develop, and mean some children can use signs from around 6 months. Obviously it takes time before this for them to learn the signs which is why we recommend attending classes from 3 months onwards (when they start to taker more notice of adults around them.)
Reduced frustration – If your child is able to sign to request exactly what they want they won’t become frustrated. Equally care givers will know, taking the guess work and frustration out of your child’s requests. We can’t say it will eliminate all tantrums but hopefully it will reduce them!
Easier language learning – Signs provide an extra clue to help your child learn the most important words in your sentences and what they mean. When you say the word ‘ice-cream’ for example, they just hear a string of sounds. When you say the word and sign it, they can start to understand that you might be talking about something they can eat (and will probably find that very motivating!)
Increased interaction and bonding – Signing with your baby generally means you take more notice of how they are responding, to see if they will copy the sign yet. You are more likely to get face to face with your baby at their level when signing to ensure they can see your signs, which increases your eye contact and responses to facial expression. Hopefully you with both enjoy communicating with more ease leading to happier interactions and a good bond.
A wider vocabulary – It’s a myth that signing with your baby will delay their speech development. Research shows that it actually has the opposite effect. It can be used as a bridge to spoken language, and due to this earlier communication children who sign often have a wider vocabulary.
A boost to intellectual development – The earlier communication, interaction skills, fine motor skills and wider vocabulary of children who learn to sign are early indicators of later academic success!