Do you remember peering down at your beautiful newborn baby wondering what they were thinking? How about the first time they laughed? Did you ever wonder what they were laughing at? Babies are beautiful, God given miracles, but unfortunately until they learn to speak what is going on in their head is a mystery.
One technique that has become popular in the last decade is baby sign language. This learning technique is amazing because it is a way to communicate with babies before they are physical able to speak. I have been part of the baby sign language movement since the birth of my first son, 7 years ago. I have had to justify many times why I would take a perfectly hearing child to a language class that is created for deaf people. Here are my top three reason why I recommend teaching a baby to Sign:
1. Increase Parental and Child Bonding– Life is busy. I get it. With three children, I’m constantly running here, there and everywhere. Baby sign language give you a technique to help you bond with your child in an unique way. Baby sign language creates a situation where parents and child to spend quality time together, it enhances communication skills and it equips your child with the tools to better share their needs with you.
2. Improve Speech Development – The structure of baby sign language classes help babies develop on a higher level mentally. Not only are you challenging, repeating and introducing new words to your little one, but you are beginning to lay the foundation to regular speech. Studies show that babies can understand what they see before they understand what the hear and they are able to use motor control (i.e. signing) before they formulate the proper mouth movements to speak. Studies also show that babies who have early exposure to signing, have larger speaking vocabularies and they obtain these valuable skills earlier.
3. Do Better In School – Learning sign language as a baby is beneficial to life long learning. Through baby sign language, you are teaching them to focus their attention, challenging their minds with recall, and showing them the joy of learning. Studies shows that these important learning technique help them succeed later on in life. Babies who have early exposure to signing, have larger speaking vocabularies and scored an average of 12 points higher on IQ tests years after they have stopped signing.
What is WeeHands?
WeeHands now has more than 70+ qualified Instructors across North America. WeeHands Instructors come from a variety of professional backgrounds. For example, some of our our Instructors area American Sign Language Interpreters, Speech-Language Pathologists and Teachers of the Deaf. All of our instructors have a passion for teaching young families and have a background in both American Sign Language and education.
Their classes and DVDs have a strong emphasis on teaching American Sign Language vocabulary and teaching it well. We also focus on how and when to teach these signs using games and strategies that focus on age-appropriate language development.
WeeHands at Home DVD
Along with their amazing classes and informative signing book, WeeHands has also created a fun and interactive DVD that allows you to practice and learn in your home. This DVD introduces you and your baby to 35 signs that are familiar to the people and things that baby comes in contact with on a daily basis. The DVD has a unique was of presenting the word with the use of adults and children mimicking the signs being taught. An adult first demonstrates how you form the sign, then the sign is repeated by the adult several times, a child several times and in conjunction with a picture of what the sign was. This is repeated for all 35 signs. The signs are grouped into categories such as family words, manners, daily signs, etc. to provide a full understanding of the word and allows you to form the mental connections needed to recall it at a later time.
Following the introduction of the signs, the DVD presents songs using the words that were previously taught. The songs are very appropriate for babies and toddlers as they incorporate situations that a baby encounters on a daily basis. It is a useful and unique was to create a full understanding of the signs and imprint them on the brain in a usable way.
Having taken many sign language classes and experience the online workshops, I was very familiar with the signs included in the video. To test out its effectiveness, I used my DS5 who hasn’t had much experience with sign language since he was a baby. The DVD was very engaging and held my DS5’s attention from start to finish. He loved being able to read the words off of the TV screen then mimicking the actions with his hands. He was very excited when the songs came on and he was able to recall the signs he had learned earlier. It was a lot of fun watching DS5 learn the signs and he has already requested we do it again.
I highly recommend this video to any parent who is looking to teach their child sign language, refresh their sign language skills, or as an additional “homework tool” in conjunction with the classes.