Signing for babies for better communication
Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk by Linda Acredolo, Ph.D. and Susan Goodwyn Ph.D.
Goodwyn and Acredolo have a series of books–Baby Hearts, Baby Minds and Baby Signs. I think all of them are wonderful! Not only do the authors tell us what is good for children, but they explain the science and evidence behind it. Baby Signs is no exception. There are a number of baby signing programs and books out there, but I like this book the best for that reason. It is simple and easy to understand.
The chapter titles are:
Part I–Introducing the Baby Signs Program
Is the Baby Signs Program Good for Babies?
Benefits for You and Your Baby
As Easy as Waving Bye-Bye
Part II–The Baby Signs Program: Right for Every Family
The Baby Signs All-ASL Program
The Baby Signs “Baby-Friendly” Program
More About Baby Creations
A Program For Everyone
Part III–Start Signing with Your Baby!
When to Start Signing
Is Your Baby Ready for Signs
How to Get Started: Ten Tips for Success
Your Baby’s Progress
Differences Among Babies
Enrich Your Baby’s Signing Experience
Keeping Your Eye on the Right Prize
Part IV–Signs, Signs, and More Signs
At the Park
Animals and Pets
Choosing Signs to Teach
Part V–Off and Running with Signs
Here, There, and Everywhere
Potty Training with the Baby Signs Program
Off and Running–in Different Directions
Part VI–From Signs to Speech
A Dress Rehearsal for Talking
Why Your Baby Wants to Talk
The Transition to Speech
Gone but Not Forgotten
A Legacy of Love That Lasts a Lifetime
The evidence in favor of signing is really impressive! Kids who sign tend to communicate earlier and easier which helps prevent tantrums and confusing toddler behavior. They learn to communicate more clearly and they understand more words. Even when they learn to talk, they have a communication advantage as well as an emotional advantage because they have more options to express themselves and bond with their caregivers. The authors explain all the benefits and give inspiring examples. They also give you different options. Your baby doesn’t have to sign everything; every little bit helps. You can start with just his or her favorite items and move up. You can use traditional American Sign Language or the authors’ modified version for kids. Either way, the book includes two sets of common signs–ASL and their versions. The pictures are easy to follow and include all the most popular words that kids might need to use. In addition, this is a quick book to read. It is simple to read all the way through, or you could pick the signs you’d like to focus on. I think the research behind signing is really exciting and it’s definitely something I wanted to pursue for my children!
We also have the Signing Time DVD collection, (which isn’t related to this book.) My kids and I love it! The creators have a real gift for relating to children and making memorable songs. (They get stuck in my head frequently and my son loves to sing along!) I can’t say enough good things about signing in general, but I do think these are some of the best resources for your kids 🙂
Find Signing Time videos!