Is using baby sign language with your kids a good idea? Baby sign language is something a lot of parents do even without realizing that they have fallen into it. There is a lot of debate about this way of communication with kids about whether it is useful or it affects kid’s development.
So what exactly do we mean by baby sign language? Simply speaking, we teach our kids to express their basic needs with simple sign language when they have not yet learned basic words or phrases. It might any simple sings for things like food, drink, mummy, daddy etc.
The concept behind baby sign language is that kids can learn this sign language earlier than they are able to communicate with words.
However, there are detractors too who consider that using baby sign language is a bad idea due to different reasons. First of all children who can express their basic needs through sign language will not try hard enough to learn to speak until later in age.
Another criticism is that a child may later on misunderstand a phrase and get very upset when others can not understand his sign language. For example, parents might be satisfied that their kid has learned how to ask for ‘more’ in sign language but child might have understood as ‘I need something”.
So is baby sign language a good idea or a bad idea? Well, the fact is that experts are not really sure. In the end it all depends on how sign language is introduced to children and how it progresses. But there are three things that parents who are trying to introduce sign language to their babies should keep in mind.
- Start teaching baby sign language at appropriate age. The reasonable age to start that is around 8 months.
- Keep sign language simple. It should be limited to only basic words and phrases. This should not replace normal communications and conversations.
- Keep the conversations going with your child even when the child has learned sign language. Do say out the related words and phrases loud to him so that he learns along the way. This will also help your child create associations between signs and words.
And baby sign language is not for every child because some children will just not learn it. With this in mind, keep it simple and do not stop talking to your child.