It is never to early to start teaching your little one to communicate and baby sign language is a great way to do this. There are benefits of learning baby sign language for both parent and baby and with lots of classes springing up everywhere, it couldn't be easier to get your infant on the road to effective communication.
The best time to begin teaching your baby sign language is from the age of about 6 months. Although you can start from as young as birth, it will take a long time for your baby to have the dexterity to sign back, whereas when you start at 6 to 8 months, your child will be well on the way to having the motor skills to be able to respond. On average, if you start teaching your baby to sign at 6 months of age, it will take around 2 months for them to be able to sign back. Older children can benefit from sign language too, so starting as late as 18 months is also fine and you should find that your little one will catch on very quickly if you start at a late stage and so will start signing back in as little as 7 days.
There are three main benefits to learning baby sign:
Babies cannot always make their carers understand what they want or need, but before they can develop language skills they can often learn to communicate via gestures. Baby sign language helps them to find ways to show their parents what is the problem so there is less crying and fussing and more communication and understanding between adults and babies. Every parent knows the distress and frustration of trying to soothe a crying child with no idea of how to resolve the problem. With sign language skills, a baby can demonstrate their needs so that there is no more guesswork involved. Whether they are hungry or thirsty, too cold, too hot or just want their toy, they will have the means with which to show their parents what they require.
The better you can communicate with and understand your little one, the stronger the emotional bond between you will be. Learning baby sign language together is not only teaching you both useful skills but it is also helping you to become closer as a family unit. Not only that, but parents will feel more confident in their parenting abilities by developing this skill.
Everyone wants their child to be the very best that they can be and learning baby sign language helps to boost cognitive skills and help your little one to develop the thinking skills that will be invaluable later in life. In fact, evidence has shown that learning baby sign language can actually boost your infant's IQ by 12 points as they grow into childhood as well as aiding the development of their vocabulary and helping to develop reading skills at an earlier age.
Below are some of the common signs that you can start to teach your baby: