Few realize just how useful signs can be in creating well mannered little boys and girls. I can promise you that your baby understands far more than you think. For this reason you should use baby signs. For example, a baby as young as 16 months old can use manners like PLEASE and THANK YOU. I know this because my son did after very little prompting. He understood that when he wanted something he needed to rub his chest in a circular manner and after he received what he wanted to bring his hand from his mouth downward to show his appreciation.
If you don’t use signs, you’ll suffer from long months when it was okay for your baby to beg and crawl at your legs when they wanted a special treat, then bolt away with the spoils not having shown their appreciation only to come back begging for more when it had been engulfed. Baby signs lets you set limits on activities too. For example, you can sign when something is almost done by saying ALL DONE, you can sign STOP when it’s time to move on. You can have your baby wave BYE when he should get ready to part with something. Babies can also let parents know when they’ve reached their limits and need to SLEEP, want their BLANKET or a HUG.
I remember being totally floored when one of my sister’s friends was over with her little girl. She didn’t know how to sign, but was very verbal for her age. She was visibly upset and wanted to leave, when her Mom asked why, her baby told her that she was tired and wanted to go to sleep. I was amazed! My son, at the same age, was not a verbal, but he could make all his thoughts known through signs. Had we not signed with him, it would have been 24 months before he could carry on some sort of conversation. Compare this to the over 200 words he learned to sign!
Many parents initially think the pre-signing is such a short time-frame that they’ll just skip over it and wait for their baby to start talking. This can be a mistake because you’ll have missed out on a gap where socialization can take place. You can teach your baby all sorts of skills, manners just being one of them. With signs you can teach GENTLE and TOUCH GENTLE, NO TOUCH, STOP, WAIT and so forth. There’s really nothing off limits to teaching your baby and should your baby’s interests lie elsewhere you can take off on any tangent you want.
The pre-verbal period is an important time in your baby’s life and much learning can take place. Just imagine that we taught my son to count to 10, as well as the alphabet all before he turned two-years-old. I very much doubt he’s superhuman or a genius, he’s just had the learning opportunities of two loving parents keen on teaching him skills he’ll need to carry on productively in life. Incorporate signs into your parenting and I’m certain that you’ll be thankful.