My daughter is almost 3 months old. We’re out of that dreamy newborn stage and starting to think towards the future. Not that far down the road, just the first year or so. This is my second child…and for the life of me I don’t remember what we did last time to communicate. I do know that we chose not to do Baby Sign Language for a few different reasons. This time things are different and I want to give it a try. I wrote more about our plans to involve my older daughter in the BSL process with her sister here on my blog.
There are many myths about Baby Sign Language and I want to take about a couple of them:
BSL will delay speech – The thought behind this myth is that having one form of communication will make your baby lazy to learn how to speak. Your baby will be able to demand all of their basic necessities without uttering a word. If this were true my first daughter wouldn’t have needed to learn to speak for a long while. Her needs were met just as well before she learned to talk as after. There are all sorts of nonverbal cues we pick up on while raising our children. Giving them very specific signs (while speaking the word) for everyday items doesn’t lessen their desire to learn their native language.
BSL takes too much time to teach – It will only take as much time as you devote to researching and learning the signs yourself. While teaching them to your baby you just sign along with your normal routines so your child learns to associate words with things, needs, and actions. There’s no need to set aside specific signing lesson times.
Just Google “Baby Sign Language myths” and you’ll come up with hundreds of results. There will always naysayers who want to turn a positive process into something negative.
While there are a ton of myths there are also many good reasons to teach your baby to sign. Let’s talk about a couple:
Ease of Communication – whether you teach your baby sign language or you just go with the flow and learn each other’s cues by accident…you’re communicating with each other. BSL will give your baby very distinct ways of asking for what she needs and will give you a way to answer her. It’s believed to be great for heading off tantrums from otherwise frustrating interactions. It’s also cuts down on your own frustrations because you no longer have to guess what’s on your baby’s mind.
Bonding – When your babies are little it’s hard to come up with things to do together that are more than just play peek-a-boo. Signing is a fun activity to do with one another. BSL is also a positive way to interact and can lead to a more connected relationship because you understand one another.
Have you signed with your babies? Do you have any advice to offer us?
Baby Sign Language Resources