Here are some frequently asked questions when signing with your baby:
1. Does signing delay the speech of your baby?
Definitely not! Based on more than 20 years of research, signing actually helps babies to talk. My daughter Alexa is now two and a half years old and she has started to use a string words and form long sentences. She combines signs and speech to emphasize what she means like excuse me, all done, and share. When she’s becoming whiny and she knows that we disapprove because of her behavior, she usually signs sorry if she’s not too keen on saying the word and that’s okay as long as she’s able to let us know how she feels.
2. Is the Baby Signs® Program based on the American Sign Language (ASL)?
About one hundred signs in the Baby Signs® Program are based on ASL. Since the fine motor skills of the babies are yet to develop, the program has adapted about a hundred of baby-friendly signs from ASL like mommy and daddy. What’s good about the program is that parents and babies are encouraged to come up with their own signs because of the goal is to give them a temporary way to understand each other while speech is not yet evident. In the Baby Signs® Dictionary that can be found in the revised version of the book Baby Signs: How To Talk To Your Baby Before They Can Talk, more ASL signs have been incorporated and more than one sign suggestion is given so that you can have options so that you can choose a sign that works for you.
3. When should I start signing with my baby?
Anytime between 0-24 months or depending when you like to start, but certainly at 8-9 months. Some families begin as soon as their baby is born just to get into the habit, and that’s fine. After all, we talk to babies from the day they’re born (or even earlier); we just don’t worry when they don’t answer!
In our case, my husband and I started signing with our daughter when she was 3 months old. We wanted get into the habit of signing, be more familiar with the signs and of course be more comfortable in using them in front of others.
4. When can I expect my child to sign back?
Depending on when you start and the interest of the child in communicating, development of related skills (e.g. memory, imitation, attention) and the frequency and consistency of the parents in modeling the signs, answer varies from baby to baby. Usually the signs are clear between 10-14 months.
In our experience, our daughter showed us the first sign at the age of 5 months old (daddy), but was able to consistently do the signs at the age of 8 months old. We were so excited in seeing the first sign and the excitement builds up with each sign that she is able to make!
5. My baby is 20 months old and has quite a few words. Is it too late to start the Baby Signs® Program?
Even babies with 50 to 100 word vocabularies still find some words too hard to say (e.g. hippopotamus, crocodile). As long as that’s the case — no mater what the child’s age — we’ve found that sign equivalents are welcomed.
6. How do I start?
It’s simple! Just attend the Baby Signs® Parent Workshop and you will get the tools, tips and guidance on how to discover the joy of communicating with your baby even before they can talk. Contact us today!