Martin is a guest blogger today who write about language arts.
Language is easiest to learn at a younger age, and this is true even for sign language. According to University of California, San Diego (UCSD), psychologist Rain Bosworth, babies as young as five months old are universal language learners. This means that they are more viable to learning any language.
Some babies can learn sign language as young as six months, around the same time they say their first words. They are expert mimickers and this characteristic makes learning to sign easier. Using modified sign gestures can be an effective tool to communicate with a child, and it can also provide a fun opportunity to bond through a learning experience.
There are many books and web sources to help get you started on your journey to teaching your baby sign language. Through this process it is important to keep realistic expectations, be patient, and have fun.
At six months a baby may lack the motor skills needed to sign, so a more realistic time to see results would be from 8-9 months.
Start with basic signs, signs that your baby will use. For example, “milk”, a simple pumping of a fist is a good sign with which to start. Also, “more” will come in handy when your baby is still hungry. And, of course you will want to teach your baby, “Mama” and “Dada”.
As you teach your baby to sign it is also important to speak while signing. This will teach them to communicate with their words as well as their hands.
Contrary to popular belief, learning multiple languages does not inhibit learning. It instead makes it easier for your baby to communicate, often times well before they start stringing words together. Also, it less frustrating for them to communicate, as their vocabulary increases.
Learning with your baby is a special moment as you see them absorb the world. Learning sign language has many benefits for your baby and is a useful tool to communicate, at an age where communicating may seem so difficult.