Baby sign language — a modified version of American Sign Language used with preverbal infants and toddlers — is an amazing way to communicate with your little one. The purpose is to help children too young for verbal cues to communicate via signing, which may help avoid the frustration of unmet needs due to inability to "say" what they want. While it's not a substitute for basic gestures (like reaching to be picked up), it's a good companion for social development communication and a unique way to bond. In fact, the benefits of signing with your baby are certainly something you should consider before opting out.
Laura Berg, founder of My Smart Hands, a baby sign language program and author of The Baby Signing Bible,tells Today's Parent the ideal ages to begin signing with your baby is "between four and eight months." This is when you'll be doing the bulk of the signing, "until they've developed motor skills to sing in return (between six and eight months)." Choose a few common signs to start, but don't stop verbally speaking with them, as they each are important to their development, according to The Mayo Clinic.
The Mayo Clinic goes on to add that you should be realistic with your expectations, persistent with the repetition of speaking and signing those common words, and most of all, remain patient. As with all things associated with parenting, patience is key. So, still on the fence about signing? Well, here are a few of the benefits you could be providing for your child: