Critics to baby sign language have advanced several reasons to avoid signing with your baby. Often they say, my parents never taught me to sign and I turned out fine and others wills say that baby signing is a passing fad. More aggressive dissenters will tell you that singing with your baby actually does them a disservice by delaying their verbal development. Then again some parents will tell you that there are simply not enough hours in the day to teach signs to their baby. And finally, some parents are flat out too lazy and too close-minded to teach baby sign.
I feel bad for these parents. For one they are misleading themselves and second they are misleading others. While the vast majority of the comments that come about from baby sign a pro baby sign because of its recent popularity, there are still people who remain indifferent and worse, against it. While I have nothing against not teaching signs specifically (it’s a free world and kids have done fine without signs), but putting out false or misleading claims is something different altogether.
The truth of the matter is that signing provides and excellent way to foster a strong two-way parent-child bond through communication. At worst, signing does not increase IQ, vocabulary or language development, as the research shows. However, making children worse off is highly unlikely – even totally impossible. Children soak up every bit of stimulation they can get and in many cases, the more you challenge a child, the better. If a child is delayed in speaking, he would have been delayed regardless of having been taught to sign – and for these kids, thankfully they’ve been given an outlet, otherwise they’d suffer even more. Signing takes no extra time in your day after you learn the basic rules to signing as well as a handful of signs to start. From there, you might take 5-10 minutes every other day to learn a couple more signs – that’s it. You see, at the exception of being close minded and just not wanting to, there’s really no reason not to sign with your baby.