When young children do not have the ability to express themselves verbally being able to use sign language is such a wonderful alternative way to communicate.
Coming from my experience of working with young children, not being able to speak can be very frustrating and messages that a child is trying to express are generally misunderstood or not heard at all. I have learned that infants and toddlers can learn basic sign language very quickly and early on. If children notice that they are being understood better, you better believe that they are more likely to learn basic signs faster.
If more children are taught to sign they will not only improve communication skills between parents and children, there are studies that are now being made that babies who sign are more likely to become better communicators.
Baby sign language also known as makaton is not a formal language—it consists of key words and gestures that can help facilitate communication between babies and adults. It is a form of an established system in American Sign Language (ASL). The main difference between baby sign language and ASL is that it is a formal language with its own grammar and is spoken fluently just like any other language.
There are many benefits to baby sign language according to the website Baby Sign Language, it references its benefits in three terms practical, emotional, and cognitive.
- Practical— because it is easily taught and according to the Baby Sign Language website is more likely to help babies’ needs to be met by their parents. By their needs being met by their parents or adults they are likely to experience less stress and frustration.
- Emotional—because by a baby being able to communicate they feel understood and it’s always good for a parent to feel in tune to what their babies are really trying to communicate
- Cognitive—because according to Baby Sign Language, it helps to boost brain development as well as reasoning skills.
With sign language, a parent will spend less time trying to figure out the needs of their baby—a common issue that most parents, especially new parents often struggle with. And, in turn, your baby will spend less time trying to be understood.
Baby sign language should be a requirement for all parents. This is something I believe is essential for babies and parents because communication skills are being developed earlier on.
Sign language provides a child with more than just temporary acknowledgment. According to the article Teaching Your Baby Sign Language Can Benefit Both of You on PschyCentral, “Infants who learn baby sign language also are thought to gain psychological benefits, such as improved confidence and self-esteem. Feelings of anger due to an inability to communicate may not occur as often. Having the ability to sign could be a lifesaver when a child is too distraught to speak clearly.”
Children are the leaders of our future, so why not start them off in the right direction early?