by Sara Bingham
When Kids Sign Most
First foods, first steps and first words are important milestones in any baby's life. For parents who are signing with their babies, the first sign is also a monumental moment. I remember Joshua and Sabrina's first signs very clearly. Joshua signed "fish" at 9 months of age while Sabrina's first sign was a mischievous "no" at 11 months of age.
At the same time, new moms often ask "My baby is 11 months old, is it too late to start signing with her?" Anyone who has the privilege of working with new parents should encourage them to let the mommy (or daddy) guilt go! Yes, those first early "baby" signs are amazing but I found that my children signed the most when they were toddlers and this was after their first spoken words arrived.
Experts Sound Off
Benefits Beyond Babyhood
A baby doesn't learn to speak by going from one word to full sentences. Using sign language as speech develops and is fine tuned will help young children to play with language and it will help them clarify communication attempts. As any parent to a toddler knows, if you can avoid frustrations by being clearly understood, it's a good thing!
Sara Bingham is the founder of WeeHands and the author of The Baby Signing Book. WeeHands is the world's leading children's sign language and language development program for babies, toddlers and preschool children. Sara completed a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics at the University of Ottawa, and has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Carleton University. In addition, she has earned a post-graduate diploma from Georgian College, as a Communicative Disorders Assistant. Sara has been studying American Sign Language (ASL) since 1991 with the Canadian Hearing Society, the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf in Toronto and at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. She is the mother of two, and a frequent contributor to parenting magazines and baby-related professional websites. She lives in Brooklin, Ontario.
Copyright © Sara Bingham. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.