3 Benefits of Sign Language for Infants
Communication with infants and preverbal children is notoriously difficult, routinely addled with frustration from both parties and often resulting with the screams and sobbing tantrums of your child.
This is where Baby Sign Language comes in. Baby Sign Language offers a simplified version of sign language that is specifically geared towards helping infants and preverbal children communicate their needs without the use of words. The basic sign vocabulary covered by the program includes words like, “hungry,” “more,” “hot,” “cold,” – even helping them communicate specific wants like, “milk,” “water,” “teddy bear,” and “bath.”
St-Laurent Academy teaches Baby Signs® to the infants in our Daycare program – one of the few infant daycare programs that offers Baby Sign Language in Ottawa. With over two decades of research, study and program refinement, Baby Sign Language has continued to provide a wide spectrum of benefits for parents and child alike. Below is just a sample of the ways participating in a Baby Sign Language program will help both you and your child.
Reduce Frustration and Allow for Better Communication
Baby Sign Language provides a way for you and your preverbal child to communicate. Instead of playing a one-sided guessing game when your child is frustrated and crying, Baby Sign Language provides your child with a way to communicate their needs and wants. This cuts down on frustration for both parties, allowing your child to let you know if the bath water is too hot, if they are hungry or thirsty, and so on – fewer headaches for a smoother family dynamic.
Strengthen Understanding and Emotional Bond
Without the use of language, parents naturally bond with their children in infancy through body language and physical closeness. Baby Sign Language allows for a further, shared mutual understanding between parent and child – a key component in building emotional closeness – allowing for a stronger bond to develop at an earlier stage in development. Not only will your child feel better understood, you will feel less anxiety as a parent knowing that you are understanding and delivering on your child’s needs.
Promote Advanced Long-Term Cognitive Development
Baby Sign Language has been found to improve cognitive and emotional development in infants, improving their language skills, reasoning, and social skills. Baby Signs® founders Dr. Linda P. Acredolo and Dr. Susan W. Goodwyn report that children rank 12 IQ points higher than their non-signer classmates at age 8 when having learned symbolic gesturing in infancy.
For best results, infants should begin to take part in the Baby Sign Language Program at between six to eight months old. Through the Baby Sign Language Program, you can expect your child to start to be able to communicate through symbolic gestures within roughly two months, starting with three to four simple signs and developing on their range of vocabulary as they continue in the program.
If you are interested in having your child learn Baby Sign Language, St-Laurent Academy’s Daycare Program can help! St-Laurent Academy is committed to your child’s early development, and believes in fostering cognitive and emotional growth even at your child’s earliest stages.