Thursday, September 4, 2008

When to Start Signing with Your Baby

When is the best time to start signing with your baby? The day they are born? When they can wave goodbye? There are many suggestions. I personally believe it depends upon the parent, not the child. The earlier you start signing, the longer you will have to sign before your child signs back. That's fine, if you can stick with it. Starting to sign earlier will give you and your child time to become familiar with and used to many more signs before he/she starts signing back. But, if you wait until they are showing physical capability of signing back, you will have a much shorter "frustration period" before they sign back (the frustration is the parents' not the baby's).

Andrea Ploehn, founder of Signing 4 Baby, also believes that the time to start is based on the parents, not the baby.

I started signing with my daughter when she was 5.5 months old. She signed back at 7.5 months. That was 2 months of having faith that she would sign eventually. Still, if we have another child, I plan to start signing right away.

What did you do? Or what do you plan to do?


Holly September 7, 2008 at 1:16 AM  

I started signing with my son around 4-5 months, just the basics, like "milk". He did not sign back until about 13 months, but he suddenly was able to try a lot of signs, so it was a real reward for me! I cannot imagine him having been able to sign at 7.5 months! He still has difficulties with finer finger movements, but he tries. I think it must be good for his fine motor skill development, let alone his language acquisition.

Holly Tried It September 8, 2008 at 8:46 PM  

I think it's good for their finger dexterity, too. Are you familiar with Signing Time? The Co-creator's daughter has cerebral palsy. Her finger dexterity has improved over time instead of worsening. They attribute it to signing.

I'm impressed by your dedication! Many people would have given up. Isn't it so much fun being able to communicate with him?

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