Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's Your Sign?

When Noah was a baby, I read a book called Baby Signs.  It changed the way I thought about communicating with my baby boy, so I gave to both of the Grandmas to read as well, so we could all be on the same page with Noah.  It made such a difference in our lives that I have since bought a copy of this book for each expectant mom I know :)

Baby signs have been around forever (hello...ever seen a baby wave bye-bye?) but only in recent years has this form of communication been brought to light and really gotten the attention it deserves.  Its so simple.  Yet so impactful.

No, signs are not just for hearing impaired babies, as I have to explain to many strangers who ask me after observing my communication with the babies.

And no, baby signs do not delay a baby's speech development, as I have also had to explain to many a stranger.

It actually helps babies to speak sooner than they would otherwise.


Because once a baby realizes that she can communicate her needs via baby signs, literally thousands of neurons begin firing in her brain.  Much sooner than if she was waiting until she could actually speak the words she wants to say.  The earlier these neurons fire, the sooner those parts of her brain develop.

And its not just beneficial from the anatomical brain aspect.

Its also beneficial from the keeping-your-sanity aspect. :) 

It eliminates so much frustration between parents and babies!  When a baby can tell you she wants a cracker, or a drink of milk, or that she is hurt, you can immediately meet her need instead of guessing what on earth she is crying about. 

Both of my twins use baby signs, but I will use Campbell for an example.  When she signs banana to me, and I say, "Campbell do you want a banana?" her face breaks into a huge grin and I can tell she is just so proud of herself for communicating that need with her mama.  She is so excited to tell me not only what she needs, but also about what is going on around her.  When Leia walks by, she signs "doggie."  If we are looking out the window, she signs "outside" and "bird" if we see one.  She signs "eat" when she is hungry, and "bath" whenever she gets bored because that is her absolute favorite thing to do. 

They both sign many more words as well, and we are adding more every day.  I've even seen them sign to each other, which is adorable of course.  I've yet to be quick enough to capture it on video, but I'll keep trying.  :)

Thank you baby signs.  You've made such a difference in the lives of all three of my children.  And mine too :)

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