Baby signing is so much more than communication and understanding; it paves the way for how babies learn to talk, too.
Join me as I walk you through this lovely video clip of Lucas baby signing LOVE – and Daddy and Dog – and my observations on what is happening beyond ‘just’ baby signing..
The Importance of Baby Signing in Language Development
Baby signing helps babies learn the foundational skills they need in order to talk – which is made up of so much more than just words and sounds.
Baby signing serves as the bridge between communication and speech in the utterly remarkable journey of how babies learn to talk.
As Libby Hill, Consultant Speech and Language Therapist comments ‘the more you know about the factors involved in speech development, the more you wonder how anyone manages it.’
Learning to Talk; More Than Words and Sounds
I’ve chosen this absolutely brilliant video of Lucas to showcase how baby signing supports and develops the building blocks of language that babies need when they learn to talk; its no wonder that research proves that signing babies are ahead for speech, language and communication!
Baby Signing Love (and Daddy and Dog) Lucas shows us how (British Sign Language)
In this little clip gorgeous Lucas shows us how to sign ‘Love’ (and dog and daddy too!)
There is just so much to say about this little clip.
You’ll see that Lucas has started linking more than one sign together. In this instance he is telling his Mama that he loves his dog (Rufus) and Daddy.
As you watch, you’ll notice that Lucas’s signing is in the correct word order – which will give him a huge head start with sentence structure when he can say those words for himself.
Again, we see that babies signs are not the same as ours – and the copying stage is the most critical of all the Stages of Signing as it helps us identify how our babies sign for themselves.
Lucas is signing Daddy with bunched hands coming together – over time, as his dexterity develops, he will be able to make the correct hand shape (as long as the correct sign is repeated back to him).
But what matters most is that Mama knows that this is his sign for Daddy and recognises it.
Mama sees Lucas’s signs and then repeats the word back to him verbally, giving him more opportunity to hear the word for himself and this continues to associate the word and sign together.
Making signs correctly takes time; sometimes families like to use their little ones own interpretation of the sign – and that’s ok. We’d encourage you to continue to show the correct sign if you can though, as it has wider implications for a whole community of people who rely on sign language.
The aim of baby signing is to create communication, connection and understanding, which is beautifully demonstrated by Lucas.
Baby Signing and Language Development
Beyond the immediate joy and connection, baby signing lays a solid foundation for language development.
By incorporating signs into your interactions, you provide your baby with a multi-sensory experience that enhances their understanding of language, in context.
It supports their early literacy skills, understanding of how sentences are structured (yes, really!), comprehension, building their word banks and overall communication abilities.
Baby Signing: Helping Your Baby to Learn to Talk
Lucas’s signing journey supports so many of the foundations needed when babies learn to talk – and they all build on each other:
- Attention: Paying attention is a vital skill for babies to develop. By engaging with the signs and gestures, Lucas demonstrates his ability to focus, concentrate, and actively participate in the signing process.
- Listening: Active listening is the foundation of effective communication. As Lucas’s Mama interacts with him through signing, he listens attentively, processing the visual information conveyed through the signs.
- Understanding: Understanding the meaning behind signs and gestures is a key aspect of early communication. Lucas comprehends that his signs for “Love,” “Dog,” and “Daddy” convey specific messages to his Mama, establishing a shared understanding between them.
- Context: The ability to interpret signs within a specific context is crucial. Lucas skillfully uses signs to express his affection for his dog (Rufus) and his Daddy, creating meaningful connections based on the situation and his emotional state.
- Early Language and Literacy: Baby signing lays the foundation for language development and literacy skills. Lucas’s signing in the correct word order gives him a head start in understanding sentence structure, providing a solid groundwork for future language acquisition.
- Eye Contact: Eye contact plays a significant role in communication, fostering connection and engagement. Lucas establishes visual contact with his Mama, reinforcing their interaction and enhancing their bond during the signing exchange.
- Turn-Taking: Turn-taking is a fundamental skill that facilitates smooth communication. As Lucas signs, his Mama responds by repeating the corresponding word verbally. This back-and-forth interaction encourages turn-taking, mirroring the dynamics of a conversation.
Slow down when you sign with your little one!
You’d be amazed how capably babies and toddlers can join in, but they need more processing time. Slowing down the pace means that everyone gets to show off their skills and this creates a positive learning experience.
Ready for your next steps?
Discover the joy of baby signing with Ten Little Fingers™, a complete beginners guide to baby signing, the Little Signers Club way!
Designed for young children of any age and development stage, this fun, but functional, self paced course introduces 60 carefully selected signs to support life with your little one.
All you need is your hands and some Little Signers Club know-how!
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Baby Signing Expert and Award-Winning Educator
Shelley is a renowned expert in baby signing, applied to early parenting, and an award-winning educator at Little Signers Club.
With a passion for empowering parents, she guides families on a remarkable journey of connection through the magic of baby signing.
As an award-winning educator, Shelley combines her in-depth knowledge of sign language with her understanding of the unique challenges and joys of early parenting.
Shelley will be your trusted guide and cheerleader, helping you navigate the fascinating world of early communication and celebrating the milestones along the way.
Her expertise and passion will empower you to create an unbreakable bond with your baby through meaningful connections and joyful communication.
Signs featured in this blog
Baby Signing Love
Baby Signing Daddy
Baby Signing Dog