By Shira Fogel
You may have heard that signing with your baby can help increase their IQ and help them speak earlier than non-signers. However, the other benefits that are obtained while signing are even more important. According to Linda Acredolo, one of the founders of the baby signing movement, “The reason to encourage signing with babies is not to raise IQs or speed up language development. Our research shows those things happen, but they are just side benefits. The real reason to encourage signing is to enrich the parent-child relationship. Using signs increases the number of positive interactions and decreases the number of negative interactions— a formula for a better attachment relationship.”
This benefit continues into the second and third year of the child’s life. “The number of negative interactions go up in the second year. At that age, children become mobile but unable to meet every goal, so the opportunities for frustration become more frequent,” says Acredolo.
With all of these benefits, some people are inclined to wonder about the down side. The answer: THERE ARE NONE. You do not need to be fluent in sign language to be able to communicate with your child. Just knowing the most basic nouns and verbs can make a big difference in your child’ s world. Helping your child to learn to sign is very easy and it doesn’ t require any extra time. You are already talking to your children, helping them to identify names for things in the world around them. Adding a sign with the spoken word is just an extra step that as you now know has big payoffs!
If you are interested in learning more about baby sign language, Shira Fogel, founder of Tiny Talkers, will be offering Baby Sign Language 101 Workshops for parents and caregivers at Zenana Spa and Wellness Center in May and again in August.
Go to www.TinyTalkersPortland.com for more information and to pre-register.
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