Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Baby Sign Language
I had only heard a little bit about this when Xavier was first born. I had heard something like, "you can teach your baby sign language and they can talk to you". Although I do think this is possible I had put it to the back of my brain kind of where teaching my baby to use the toilet instead of diapers is. It is possible but I had no intentions of being super mom. We were just going to focus on breastfeeding and keeping my child alive and out of harms way.
I pretty much stuck to that idea, until now. Now that Xavier is a toddler (he is almost 15 months in case you are not keeping track as well as I am) I find our communication barrier is very large. When he was a baby I had no problem understanding him. He had different cries. If I was unsure of what it was I could usually figure it out. However, he does not cry anymore (well, not unless you really don't understand him for a while) instead he will come up to you and say something in your face with a lot of passion in a language that I do not speak. He understands some of what I say. He understands words like "eat" and "nap" but the rest not so much.
That's when I started giving this baby sign language another try. Perhaps they were on to something. Although I was a little worried it would not help him to vocally say what he wants I decided that I do not think that is going to be an issue. Xavier is a talker. He has been saying stuff since we came home from the hospital we just do not speak the same language. He does know a few of our words, "mama", "dada" and "no". However, they are not always in context, he will say "no" when he still wants more and he will sometimes just wander around the room singing "dada, DAAAAADAAA". So again, I am not sure we speak the same language.
I was given a book at my baby shower called Baby Signs by Joy Allen. If you do not have a book, the baby signs are the same for the American Sign Language and you can also find some good baby sign language on this website, babysignlanguage.com they also have books and flashcards you can buy if you would like. I liked the fact that if this worked that he would also be learning another language. One that I would not mind learning myself.
We have been doing this for a few months now and it has vastly improved our communication skills with each other. Although he still has a hard time doing the actual signs himself he understands my signs much better then my words. I particularly use the signs "all done" and "water". He actually will do "all done" when he is done eating. The "water" sign I use a lot for him to find his sippy cup that is somewhere in our house. I will say "water" and do the sign and he will go and get his cup. We are working on others but in the short time I have been doing it I can greatly see a difference and it has helped tremendously with a toddler. I feel like we are finally starting to understand each other much better which definitely can keep tantrums in check. I highly recommend checking out sign language with your baby or toddler you will be amazed how well it really does cover that gap of communication.