The Benefits of Signing with your Baby
Families who use the Baby Signs® Program know first hand that the benefits of using signing with your baby, affect different areas of a child’s development. Using the Baby Signs® Program stimulates:
Benefits for Social-Emotional development:
Benefits for Language Development:
Some parents worry that encouraging their child to use signs might slow down learning to talk. Actually, the opposite is true! With the help of a large grant from the federal government, Linda and Susan were able to show that using the Baby Signs® Program actually helps babies learn to talk. Just as a child who learns to crawl is more, rather than less motivated to learn to walk, so also a child who learns to sign more, rather than less motivated to learn to talk!
The groundbreaking research completed by Baby Signs® authors Drs. Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn showed extensive benefits for language development including: .
By the time they were 2 years-old, Baby Signs® babies had significantly larger vocabularies than their non-signing peers.
By the time they were three years old, their language skills were more like that of their four year-old peers.
Benefits for Cognitive Development:
Using the Baby Signs® Program Stimulates Intellectual Development!
Baby Signs® babies are busily using their signs to learn about the world while children scored well above their non-signing peers are still waiting for the words they need to do the same. For example, a Baby Signs® baby may label a piece of broccoli with a sign for "flower" while smiling quizzically, essentially asking, "It looks like a flower, but what is it really?" We now know that all this early learning pays off down the road. When Linda and Susan revisited the children from their government-funded study of the Baby Signs® Program after the children had finished in cognitive tests well into the second grade , they found that those who had used signs when they were babies had higher IQs than those who had not!
What Parents are Saying
Using The Baby Signs® Program Reduces Frustration!
Baby Signs® families enjoy reduced frustration and increased trust because babies have a way to communicate, and they know their parents and caregivers will understand their message. This means parents and babies experience less frustration!
See what we mean in this example from our Baby Signs® files:
There was no doubt about it; fifteen-month-old Emily was upset.
Her dad, Ed, had just returned to his easy chair after settling her down for her nap when the wailing began. Ed was puzzled. He thought he'd done everything right. Her diaper was fresh, her tummy was full, and her music box was playing. What could the problem be?
As he opened her door, one quick look at Emily's face told the story. There she stood, teary-eyed, furiously tapping an index finger against her lips. Immediately recognizing her sign for pacifier, Ed sighed with relief, pulled one out of a drawer, and handed it to her.
But Emily frowned and shook her head. Obviously something still wasn't right.
Fortunately for Ed, Emily then stuck out her hands, wrists together, and smacked her palms in a clapping motion. "A ha! That's your sign for "crocodile!" said Ed triumphantly. "You don't want just any pacifier; you want the one with the crocodile on it!"
Emily 's answering grin told him he'd gotten everything right at last - with a little Baby Signs® help.
Using the Baby Signs® Program Allows Babies to Share Their Worlds
Babies have a way to communicate about the world around them. Research shows that when parents follow a child’s lead, and communicate about their baby’s interests, their interactions are qualitatively better. This increases respect for babies, and builds the trust relationship between babies and their parents and caregivers.
Because Baby Signs® babies are able to communicate effectively with their caregivers, the number of negative interactions goes down and the number of positive interactions goes up. In other words, being together is a lot more fun when baby and caregiver can truly understand each other.
With signs, even very young children can "tell" their caregivers that they just saw a caterpillar, that they hear a dog barking, or that a bird just flew away.
They can let their caregivers know whether they are happy, sad, or even afraid.
In other words, life with a Baby Signs® baby becomes a shared life --and with greater sharing comes a stronger, sweeter caregiver-infant bond.
Using the Baby Signs® Strengthens the Parent-Infant/Caregiver-Infant Bond
Thirteen-month-old Bryce often had difficulty sleeping through the night.
One morning just before dawn, he awoke and began to cry. Bryce's dad, Norm, knew it was his turn and reluctantly crawled out of bed to try to coax Bryce back to sleep, typically not an easy job. Desperate for a new tactic, Norm took Bryce out onto the front porch, sat down on the glider, and began to swing back and forth. Norm felt frustrated sitting on the porch at 5:30 in the morning when he should have been upstairs in his cozy bed.
All that changed, however, when Bryce suddenly turned to his Dad and with a broad smile on his face did his Baby Sign for "Light!"
"Your're right, Brycie!" replied Norm as he turned his eyes toward the horizon and saw what had entranced his son. Hugging Bryce close with a warm smile on his own face he continued, "It's the sun and it's bringing us light for another day!"
What had begun as a chore had suddenly turned into a shared moment of wonder, a moment that Norm continues to treasure to this day.