splendens/Fotolia

7 Benefits Of Signing With Your Baby

By
Share
Ad failed to load

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:

Ad failed to load

A Better Bond

Giphy

Communication bridges the gap between misunderstanding and understanding. And if your baby can't properly communicate their wants and needs, how can you possibly provide both? BabySignLanguage.com says signing together strengthens your bond with your baby, writing that it also, "increases that feeling of closeness." With a few key moves, you and your baby could be on the path to better understanding one another, which can only make your bond that much stronger.

Less Tantrums

Giphy

Dr. Joseph Garcia, who founded the "Sign With Your Baby" system tells, ABC News that a baby's brain is fully capable of learning to sign, and "the more signs babies learn, the more it could reduce those tantrums that come with the terrible twos [because] they're not as frustrated with communicating what's on their minds."

If your baby can "tell" you want they want, it's less likely they'll become frustrated or throwing a tantrum because of it. If you teach your baby signs for things like "hungry," "milk," or "tired," you're giving them a way to communicate before they become verbal. This should eliminate your own frustration, too, when it seems impossible to figure out why your baby is fussy.

Higher IQ

Giphy

A 2000 NIH-funded study claims that babies who sign may have a higher IQ by as much as 12 points over the long-term. The research suggests that reasoning skills, coupled with language, helps develop an expanded vocabulary. In turn, those kids read earlier, better, and go on to do better in school.

Ad failed to load

Enriched Language Development

Giphy

Dr. Sharri Garrett tells ABC News:

"You should say the word as you're signing the word. What we've found is that children will actually start speaking sooner when you pair both the gesture and the word. And typically once they have the verbal words, they'll drop the sign out."

Once your baby masters the signs that help them communicate, it's a Domino effect, transferring into other developmental areas, specifically language, communication, and because of the direct eye contact with signing, social skills.

It's A "Fun" Way To Learn

Giphy

There's a lot of ways to teach your baby things, and those lessons don't have to be boring to be effective. Think of each sign as a new, interactive game. When you go back-and-forth signing, it's not only education, it's fun. And in the end, that's the ultimate goal, right?

It Promotes Higher Self-Esteem

Giphy

According to PsychCentreal.Com, "infants who learn baby sign language also are thought to gain psychological benefits, such as improved confidence and self-esteem." If your baby is capable of communicating their needs, they're bound to feel good about themselves. Psychologist Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon of the University of Stirling, UK, explains further, saying that while there's still more research needed to establish long-term, concrete evidence, there's a distinct connection between a "vocabulary and mental development." Couples with less tantrum-throwing and a stronger bond with their parent(s), would make any child more confident.

Ad failed to load

You Understand Each Other Earlier

Giphy

If communication is the foundation for all relationships, why not begin establishing that foundation as soon as possible with your child? Signing won't fix all communication breakdowns, but it might give you an alternative while you're waiting for your baby to become verbal.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}