May 24, 2008

Sign with Your Baby

How to Communicate with Infants Before They Can Speak
by Jospeh Garcia

In going backwards through my book log, I'm now coming across all the titles I read about babies and pregnancy when my daughter was small. I know they're not of interest to everybody, so I'm going to try and intersperse them evenly with the fiction and other topics. I'm kind of hitting them in reverse order: potty training, weaning, breastfeeding, pregnancy. There's a few on other child-related subjects, like this one.

Sign with Your Baby was a good resource for me. Basically, the idea is that you can teach your older baby / young toddler simple sign language to facilitate communication before they're able to talk. It cuts down on frustration from having a wailing toddler who just points or screams, and you have no idea what they want. This book briefly outlines why it's helpful to teach sign language to babies, and how to do it (in very specific steps). There are about 140 ASL signs described, but I didn't find them all useful with a toddler. It took a lot of patience for me to get started- I was using the sign "more" for about a month before I recognize my daughter's first attempt at it. But after that she learned about a dozen signs that she used regularly for a while. I was excited when we would recognize what other babies signed with their caregivers in public, and once or twice my daughter even used signs to communicate with another toddler during play. Now she's three and doesn't remember any of them. I didn't keep up with it long because she began speaking pretty soon, and it took time/effort for me to learn the signs myself. But for several months her little hands would gesture to indicate more, eat, milk, all done, go, please, thank you, story, potty, etc.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 112 pages, 2002

3 comments:

Dana said...

I never knew this was possible. Great idea and glad to know it works

Jaimie said...

I taught my son to sign when he was a toddler but I had no idea how much one could do with a baby!

Susan said...

My daycare uses the simplest ones with their babies, but by the time the children are moved up to the toddler room (about age 18 months) they are encouraging words instead. It worked with the babies, though. My son, if he picked it up, is not using it now (he's 3 1/2), or at least I haven't recognized it!