How Sign Language Can Keep You (and Your Little One) From Tears

Standing in the store with a screaming, hungry, fussy baby is no fun...Now add a screaming, fussy, "pay attention to me!" toddler to the mix...

WELCOME TO HELL.

Everyone is staring.

Half wondering what you will do and half judging you for the fact that you can't seem to get your act together in the middle of the store.

But how do you even begin to handle this type of thing? How do you communicate with your unconsolable teary eyed toddler, while you are trying to feed or pacify your screaming infant?

The answer may seem strange, but it is American Sign Language.

 

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You may be wondering why AMERICAN Sign Language and you can read more about that in "What is the difference between American Sign Language and Just Plain Sign Language", but let's get back to those screaming kiddos.

If you have no American Sign Language (ASL) experience, you are stuck trying to do whatever it takes to finish your shopping trip, while pacifying screaming children or to just get up and leave because it is not worth the trouble to try and get through a simple shopping trip with screaming kids.

This is where the beauty of ASL enters! With just a few signs you and your little one can start to understand each other more effectively and efficiently!

For those of you with infants who are not verbal yet ASL allows you to communicate before they can speak and allows your little one to tel you what they need before they can voice it to you.

Now for those of you with older children, ASL is still an important language to learn because if you have ever had a toddler you know that they are not the best at expressing their emotions, but tend to lean towards screaming or the dreaded tantrum in order for you to figure out what they need, or want.

With American Sign Language that grey area is taken out allowing parent and child to communicate better before and during a tantrum to help relinquish the effects and longevity of the tantrum.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to easily ask your child if they were tired, hungry, thirsty, or mad? Do you think this would make your life easier?

Well let me assure you that it can!

I am so sure that you will be loving the transition in your life when using American Sign Language that I have created a free 2 week Email course that will help you get started and discover all of the wonderful things ASL can offer you and your family! Did I mention that you also get a fun intro into Sensory play?

So what exactly do you get in this 14 day Email Course

You will learn 2 signs every other day, and get a sensory activity to practice those signs on the other days.

This will help your little one and you solidify the signs in your mind by seeing saying and doing. By using all of these learning methods you will actually retain what you learn in this free course instead of having it only hang out in your brain for 72 hours.

Photo Credit of The Peak Performance Center 

This is only the first step to learning American Sign Language though.

Vocabulary is wonderful, but remember how I said you should do it right the first time? Well you are going to want to follow up with more language structure so that you and your child can actually communicate in American Sign Language an not just know a lot of vocabulary. 

Just like teaching your child Spanish instead of Spanglish, Sign Language takes work, but it will be beneficial for years to come for you and your child.

So what are you waiting for!? Get started on this amazing journey to learn all about American Sign Language!

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0-3 Months Sensory Play: Lighting

Babies are really fun to play with, if you know what to do. One of these technics is using different variations of lighting to let your baby explore visually the world around them. This will also help your child start to develop the idea of night and day based on the lighting in the room and outside.

This sensory play topic is very easy because you only need what is in your house already!

Day Time:
Place your baby in a safe place, like in a bouncer, and turn off all the lights. Open the curtains at different lengths and let your baby look at thelight on the wall. It is great to talk to your baby about the light as well explaining

whether it is dim or bright. They are getting to the point where they will start to coo and have “conversation” with you so have a camera ready because it gets pretty cute!

Night Time:
This one is really fun in our house. If you have a bathroom attached to your bedroom, turn on the light in the bathroom and the light off in the bedroom. This will create a different atmosphere for baby to explore with the room half dark. The light will be making shadows on the wall that you can talk about with your baby. If you do not have a bathroom attached you can always turn on a light of an adjacent room as well.

Teaching Your Baby to Sign


When you first had your little bundle of joy I’m sure you talked about what it would be like when they started playing, walking, and talking. You will see, even in these very early stages, the look of curiosity and learning as your little one see colors, textures, and items that they have never seen. I highly suggest heading over to the Sensory Play section and trying out some sensory play with your child at each stage of development. This will be a fun way for you to play together and bond, but will also show your child the world around them in fun and new ways.

Children are such sponges for everything around them, even language. It is so natural for the brain to acquire language that we do not think much of it, as long as we are talking to our     babies regularly.

But, what if you could start understanding your child before they could verbalize sounds to make words?

The answer is American Sign Language, which will benefit you and your child now through early communication and less frustration as well as later on with advanced vocabulary and communication skills. You can view all the benefits by age group here.

Now you are probably asking, “How do I get started? Won’t it be hard to teach myself and my child a new language?”

It is so easy to start to teach your little one basic signs starting as early as 3 months, however, don’t get discouraged if you do not see results right away. Just like it took time for you to learn how to ride a bike, swim, and cook your favorite dish, your child will need time to learn the signs you are presenting them as well. The more you practice together the faster you will see your little one start to manifest the signs you are using.

“The signs my baby is using are different in ways than the real sign! What should I do! Am I doing something wrong?!”

This is completely normal! I have parents concerned about this topic ALL THE TIME! Continue to encourage your child as they sign and keep showing them the correct sign. For example, let’s say you have been learning all of the animal signs and your child loves their teddy bear, but continues to sign bear like this:

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(The way your child does the sign)

IMG_20160420_201059IMG_20160420_201108

(The correct sign)

Acknowledge that they have signed Bear by saying something like, “Do you want your bear? (Correctly sign Bear) Good job telling me what you wanted! You love cuddling your Bear!” (Use correct sign again). Once you have done this multiple times with a sign your child will correct it all on their own.

Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and you will not be fluent in a few months and you may still sign things differently than some people. But, perfect practice makes perfect, so keep showing the correct sign and encouraging them as they continue to learn and develop more fine motor skills.

Learning a new language together will be an adventure and some days it will be hard, but you have support! Please feel free to email kabrina@imaginationsigning.com or fill out the contact form with any and all questions, comments, and concerns you may have!

 

Benefits of American Sign Language

 

I have heard over and over again that learning Sign Language will delay speech or can be detrimental to a child in so many ways, but we push to teach EVERY OTHER LANGUAGE to our sweet children to make them as smart as we can.

So I must ask, “Why is American Sign Language any different?” The answer, it’s not! Even as your child goes to school and enters adulthood ASL can be a great bridge for vocabulary, memory, and social skills. You may be asking, “What are these benefits you are talking about and where is the research?” I wanted to know the same thing when I had my daughter, so I combed through the real research to bring you a list of benefits for each age group. These benefits will depend on how often you are using signs with your child, however, if you are planning on teaching American Sign Language as a second, or even third, language you will be working on ASL at least an hour a day.

You can read more about how to start your child on ASL at any age here.

And guess what? There are even benefits for you as you learn this beautiful language with your child!



Benefits for Baby

 Signing with your baby provides him/her with the ability to communicate earlier than speech

 Earlier communication may decrease tantrum behavior

Teaching sign language to your child may increase your child’s reading and spelling skills, and even IQ! (1)

American Sign Language is the fastest-growing language offered at colleges nationwide. It has gained popularity and is now being taught for foreign language credit in American schools and colleges across the country. (2)

Studies show that children who learn signs from an early age do not have a speech delay, but rather are more efficient in language  skills than children who do not use signs and gestures. (3)

Benefits for Older Children

For older children “benefits include enhanced bonding and communication, development of fine motor skills, and assistance with reading and comprehension well into the elementary school years.” (4)

Builds a Better Vocabulary (5)

Benefits for Adults

Visual Cognition

 

Want the full list of benefits for you and your child? Download it below!

 

References

(1) Yeh, K. (2012). Playing With Words 365. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.playingwithwords365.com/2012/05/9-reasons-to-teach-sign-language-to-your-hearing-infant-or-toddler/

(2) Academics – Onondaga Community College. (2015). Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://admission.sunyocc.edu/academics.aspx?nav=265&title=5967&id=29604

(3) Goodwyn, S., Acredolo, L., & Brown, C. (2000). Impact of Symbolic Gesturing on Early Language Development. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://faculty.washington.edu/sommej/Goodwynetal2000.pdf

(4) Jones, C. (2006). The Benefits of Sign Language for ALL Children. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.deaf-culture-online.com/sign-language-for-children.html

(5) O, C. (2013, July 29). 5 Ways Sign Language Benefits the Hearing: How ASL Improves Communication. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.speechbuddy.com/blog/language-development/5-ways-sign-language-benefits-the-hearing/

(6) Melvin, S. (2013). The Effects of Learning American Sign Language on College Students’ Spatial Cognition. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2047&context=etd_hon_theses

 

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