When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to teach my son sign language as a baby. My sister taught sign language to her three kids when they were babies, and it seemed to help them communicate and reduce their frustration. Yes, I heard about research showing that teaching babies sign language delays their speech, but I really try not to over think things.
I decided to start out with a weekly sign language class when Noah was six months old. I figured it was a good way to get out of the house and meet other moms plus expose my son to sign language. I had no expectations for the class. I mean, he couldn’t even clap, so how would he come out of a 10 week class signing anything? I was right, he was the one in class who just liked watching the other babies and really wasn’t interested in anything else.
About the time our 10 week class was wrapping up, one of my husband’s co-workers sent us a Baby Signing Time DVD. I was excited about the DVD because it was a way to reinforce the signing without having to worry about a scheduled class interfering with his nap time. Realistically, all I want my son to learn is the basics about eating (more, eat, milk, and juice) and the basics around manners (please, thank you, and sorry). From the moment I first played the DVD, my son was hooked. He loves watching it. I got so tired of the songs on the first DVD, that I ordered the second one in the series after about a month. Now we alternate between the two.
So, at 13 months old and after about 7 months of teaching, what does he know how to sign? We’ll occasionally get “more” when he’s eating, and by occasionally, I mean maybe once a week. His favorite thing to sign? Airplane. Yes, Airplane. Maybe because we can see a small airport from our house, we take him for runs on a 5 mile path around the airport, and we talk about Daddy getting on an airplane. For now, I’ll take “more” and “airplane”, and hopefully the manners will come later. Have you tried sign language with your baby?