As the parent of a baby or toddler, you may have heard of other parents teaching “baby sign language” to their little ones. Are you still deciding whether or not to teach your baby to sign? These are just some of the benefits of baby sign language.
It allows your children to communicate earlier than speech.
You probably know that babies are extremely receptive and are able to understand far more than what they can express. Most children are not ready to speak until they are roughly 2 years old—but babies are able to communicate with sign language a lot earlier than that. After all, the skills they need to sign develop much earlier than the skills that they need to produce words.
Tantrum behavior can be decreased.
Most of the time, early tantrums from babies result from their inability to communicate their wants and needs. With baby sign language, babies have fewer moments of distress and are able to communicate with you more effectively if they want “milk” or “more”—even without saying actual words.
It may enhance your child’s language skills and vocabulary.
Teaching sign language to your baby entails a lot of repetition. Since you say a word and perform the sign for that word simultaneously, the visual and auditory repetition may be able to expand your child’s vocabulary and language skills. In fact, studies show that babies that sign have larger spoken vocabularies compared to the average baby.
It may boost your child’s spelling and reading skills.
Studies show that hearing children who learn sign language at an early age have higher spelling and reading skills compared to their peers. Research also suggests that babies who sign have higher a 12-point higher IQ than those that do not sign.
It is a bonding experience.
Communication can create a closer bond between a parent and a child. The ability to understand your baby can increase the feeling of closeness, and allow you to be more in tune with one another. One study showed that parents who signed with their babies proved to be more in tune with all of their baby’s nonverbal cues—whether or not they were signed.