I suppose baby sign language has reached a certain level of popularity and might even have reached its peek. I surmise this due to the fact that upon its mention to parents, a lot will have some form of preconceived notion about it and whether or not they’ll teach it to their baby. This is probably because people have likely heard enough small snippets about baby sign from various media such as the television, radio, movies and the Internet. I’ve even heard that some celebrities have used baby sign language.
Naturally, there is both good and bad with this advancement. While awareness in tools that make life more pleasant can be a blessing, the incompleteness of the benefits and pitfalls can be damaging. Without giving the techniques to baby sign a full chance, many parents cast it off as some new age fad destined to blow over. Others still are stuck thinking about making their baby’s speech delayed. I’ve even heard some off hand remarks that baby sign language might turn a baby deaf! What non-sense!
If you are considering teaching babies to sign, but aren’t sure if you should, take the time to think about why you should with a critical, but fair and objective eye. Do you want to connect with your baby on a deeper level before they can speak? Do you want to watch your baby’s mind develop with a clearer image? Do you want to be able to better manage his moods and tantrums?
So while some misinformed parents might just play up the negative aspects of baby sign, they’re doing a huge disservice to their developing baby. Now I won’t pretend to be a sign language purist – I certainly don’t preach signing forever, but I will say that there are many moments and delights that would have been completely absent from my relationship with my son had we not shared signs together. This blog is a testament to the wonderful time we spent together learning about the world. Obviously not every parent will teach 100 signs, but having a raw figure in mind is not the goal. If you are unsure, why not start off by teaching 5 signs and if you like the results you get, add another 5. Why not aim to sign 20? I think it’s only fair to yourself (never mind your baby!).