Infants and Sign Language

How many people have had an infant just cry out of frustration? How many of us have wanted to cry because we have no idea what the 1 year old we are with(ours or some one else’s)? Well, we deal with this by using sign language. As many of you know, the NerdFamily house is populated by many small people. We have previously taught our 2 older children sign and now we are starting with our 3rd. Basically, we start showing the baby signs about the time you introduce food(on our case 6 months). Usually it on;y takes a couple months before the baby starts signing back. (FYI, every kid is different so it could take longer with some. Hang in there it is worth it) This helps avoid the frustration usually around meals. According to some studies sited in articles the average child starts saying single words about 13 months, where as, signing can start at 8 months.
I have been asked if my kids won’t speak, can’t understand language, etc. I speak the word while I sign and after they learn you don’t have to sign any more. My children all have spoke very young but they also started to speak in sentences because they sign in simple sentences. At first they only consist of a noun and a please or thank you then they grow from there. My NerdPie(2 yrs) uses him and her and uses correct tenses of verbs(for the most part). At 4 the NerdBug is an amazing conversationalist and both of them have the logic to back it up.

Now that I have proven how wonderful signing with you kids is, let us talk a little about logistics. If you teach a 1 year old sign and never do it again, they will probably forget. If you have multiple children, your older children can retain it and have their 2nd language. Given this, some people teach a “baby sign” that is not a language. The NerdDad and I primarily teach American Sign Language(ASL). When I say primarily I mean that sometimes I will substitue a simple sign for a more complex one but for the most part I use ASL. Recently NerdDad found this great website put out by Michigan State that is actually an ASL Browser. It has a great index of signs and it includes the motion involved. So I hope this encourages some of the many parents of young children out there.

0 thoughts on “Infants and Sign Language”

  1. Firstly, thanks for this post. Although I never post any comment on any blog but this time I though I should appreciate your good effort and tell you to keep going.It was just amazing to read through this Sign language is my only mean of communication, besides the internet.

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