29 September 2009

Why I ♥ the Baby Signs® Program

BS Logo -the original - compressed

No, this is not a PR piece nor is it my intention to write this to help “boost” my business. (I am, after all, in a different part of the world from where most of you are. Heh.)
I was just reading my own profile and I noted that I wrote down that I am a Baby Signs® instructor, yet I never talk about here, on my own blog, something that is very close to my heart, something that I passionately believe in. I think it is high time I do.
My own Baby Signs® adventure started when Josh was eight months old. Every night, we would sign as we would read to him Goodnight Moon. In six weeks, Josh signed along to MOON when we were reading. Chris got so excited about this that he encouraged me to learn and teach Josh more signs and also eventually to get properly trained and certified to teach other families. This, from someone who was initially skeptical about it! To say that our experience with the Baby Signs® Program was amazing would be an understatement.
There are many proven scientific benefits to signing with your child, but for me, the best one of all is that signing opens up a window into your child’s world and being able to share in their discoveries –much, much earlier on than would be possible if we were simply to wait for our child to be able to “tell” us with words his/her feelings, interests, discoveries.
One of my best “signing” memories was this --
There is a fun, musical fountain in a shopping mall that we usually go to. It is a series of four urns that have water jetting out from one urn and arcing into another. We would always stop and watch. The kids are always fascinated by the water dance. We were standing there watching one time when Zoë started to excitedly say “Bo-bo. Bo-bo!” She was around 14 months at the time. I looked at her and she said it again, while watching with rapt attention at the water arcing from one urn to the other. I asked her, “Bo-bo?” She looked at me and then she made the sign for RAINBOW! I was so excited that she was able to relate the arcing of the water jets to a rainbow and that she was able to “tell” us about it.
What was so great about her using signs then was (1) that I didn’t know that she understood the concept of a rainbow, even though we had shown rainbows to her in books; (2) that she could liken the arcing of the water to a rainbow; and (3) that I might not have known what she meant by “Bo-bo” if she hadn’t clarified by making the sign for RAINBOW. How wonderful it was to share that moment of discovery with her. Without the sign, I might have just repeated, “Bo-bo? Bo-bo? Okay.” and asked her to say bye-bye to the fountain before moving along. But because she shared her amazing observation with us, we were able to acknowledge her brilliant discovery, stay at the fountain a bit longer than we normally would have, and share in her excitement and delight at being able to share her world with us. What a pity if we would have missed this beautiful opportunity.
Signing has allowed us to “talk” with both Josh and Zoë much sooner and share special moments that would not have been possible if they were not able to “tell” us with words.
Let me end with a video of Zoë at around 9 months, doing the sign for PLEASE and THANK YOU.

Those of you with little babies, if you are not already doing so, please do consider signing with your babies. I promise you, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of being a parent. If you would like more information about the Baby Signs® Program, please click here. Happy signing!


Alicia said...

I've always heard about the benefits of teaching your kids sign language! I wish I had done that!!

And HOW CUTE that your baby was able to do that at such a young age!! Amazing!

LPC said...

My sister did this with her daughter. It was great for reducing toddler frustration.

Wanda said...

This would be fantastic for Milana. She's 22 months now and really only grunts (though I can understand her grunts quite well already).

I wish I had started earlier. And I should have because Dahlia was speech-delayed too so I should have known. (Beating myself up here a bit.)How long would it take me to get some basic stuff down?

Thanks for this.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I have seen it in action as well and it does work. I had a friend who's grandson was born extremely premature and when he would want something, he'd screech for it. His mom started signing to him and it totally took away his being misunderstood and screaming uncontrollably.

I wish I had started Baby Boo with this early on.

Elle Bee said...

I love the story of the rainbow. Isn't that fascinating when a child can communicate like that? We signed with Bug, but have not with the twins and I regret it.
Keep up the wonderful work of teaching parents how to sign!

Theta Mom said...

I am so glad you wrote this post. I saw it in your profile, but never truly knew the benefits and such. Great story about the rainbow, and this sounds like something that would calm down a child's frustrations wehn the words just can't come out!

BTW, I am totally trying your Sushi recipe soon. I saw that Helene did it and it looked gourmet! When I get around to it, I'll let you know how it turns out. :)

Lindy said...

This has always fascinated me.

Does your husband know how to sign as well?

I agree with you, this will be invaluable to them as they get older!

TwentySomethingMomma said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences with the Baby Signs Program - it's something I would love to look into sometime soon for my 5-month-old!

Also, I wanted to let you know that there's an award waiting for you on my blog! Please stop by to pick it up whenever you get the chance! <3

Aunt LoLo said...

So, so cute!!!!

I tried to teach BBJ a few signs, like "more." One night, we were walking through the grocery store as a family when she was about 10 months old. She wanted "more" of whatever I had in my hand, so I made the sign and asked her to follow my lead.
The little stinker looked me in the eye and said, "Mo!"

Heh. We didn't get very far with the signing thing! Siu Jeun is the same way.

Helene said...

Okay, well first off, the video is precious...Cole and Bella watched it with me and they needed to know who she was. Then Bella said, "awwww, she's so cute".

I did signing with all my kids and it was amazing how quickly they picked it up. Even now, sometimes, Landon will do the sign for "more" and "please". Anytime one of my friends mentions that their pre-verbal child is having tantrums the first thing I ask them is if they've considered teaching them how to sign. It really helped all my kids to communicate with me and there was so much less frustration on both our parts!

blueviolet said...

I'm so impressed by that and your story has me all fired up about this! I really wish I had known about it when my kids were little.

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