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Learn The Secrets of Teaching Your Baby Sign Language
Learning a language is a complicated process, and yet babies manage to do it by following an orderly series of steps. At first, they learn to distinguish different sounds, and to recognize patterns or syllables that they often hear. Tone is also very important because it conveys the emotion behind the words. Baby looks at your face and begins to figure out what your facial expression means. For example, if you repeat a baby’s name in a loud voice, and have a happy, smiling face, very young babies will respond in a positive way quite quickly.
A baby usually learns to understand language long before he can say the words himself. A baby can follow simple instructions as young as 4-5 months. He can recognize frequently repeated key words like “no”, and “more”, their names and favorite words like “eat”!
The main problem is that there is a gap between when a baby can understand language, and when he can communicate. This can cause intense frustration. So if we can find a way to help the baby let us know what he is thinking and feeling, it can reduce the level of frustration in the baby – and in ourselves! It is possible to do this, long before a baby starts using words – it is called “Baby Signs”. You can use baby signs as an early way to help a baby communicate, and it is also valuable in boosting a baby’s language development.
Teaching baby sign language is very simple. Take a word that you use often with the baby, such as “more” or “eat,” and make a simple gesture each time you use the word. For example, to “eat”, you could point to your mouth. Make sure you use the same gesture every time you use the word. Speak clearly, and face the baby as you say the word. Use an enthusiastic tone, make sure the baby is looking, and when you have baby’s attention, repeat the word and gesture a few times.
Most parents find that if they start using baby signs around 6-7 months, the baby can usually mimic the gestures back to you and communicate what he wants by the time he is around 8-10 months.
Sometimes parents worry that the baby will come to rely on signs, and inadvertently delay the development of speech. In fact, most often the opposite is true. By using the signs, the language connections in a baby’s brain are created and developed much earlier. This actually tends to give the baby a head start in communication, and thus speed up the process of developing speech. While this may not be true for all babies, it is true for many.
In the meantime, baby signs will allow your baby to communicate his wishes and thoughts to you at a much earlier age, and thus reduce the frustration that many babies suffer before they learn to speak. It will also make it easier for you to understand what baby wants, and therefore make parenting a lot easier.
So baby sign language has two benefits – it helps your baby develop communication skills, and it also helps improve your parenting skills.
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