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Signing With Babies And Children: Teaching "Please and Thank You" - are they ever too young for this?

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Teaching "Please and Thank You" - are they ever too young for this?

When I first started to teach Baby Signing 5 years ago, I read somewhere that children don’t understand the concept of ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ – so its no point teaching them these words.

I’m sure most of you would agree that this is not quite true! Children as young as 10 month old can learn to sign ‘please’. OK, its arguable in what depth they actually understand the true meaning of the word – but is this not how we teach children : we constantly expose them to new things which they then become used to so that they will eventually learn the meaning!

This has made me think about other signs we may be teaching our little ones. Feelings such as ‘proud’, confused’ and ‘worried’ may seem out of a one year olds vocabulary range. I was pulled up on this by a Nursery manager when I showed them a clip of Laura Berg’s daughter Fireese sign along to a book about feelings. (Thanks Laura J)

I am not sure how deep Fireeses understanding of the word ‘Proud’ was at that time, but she saw a picture and made the connection with the word and the sign. This will undoubtedly help Fireese to broaden her vocabulary and to learn the meaning much sooner than a non-signing baby.

My point is : don’t be afraid to use some signs which you THINK your baby may be too young for. If the context and the situation is appropriate, use it! Never underestimate your child.

http://www.signingbabies.co.uk/

2 comments:

My Smart Hands said...

Great post and I fully agree! I always use the example of the sign 'shy' it looks like the word shy. So it can help them understand a more abstract concept. Also, my daughter knew how to sign 'thank you' at an early age and used it appropriately. We have to teach our kids manners even if they don't understand the concept. Signing can definitely help with this!
Laura (Fireese's mom) :-)

SignShine said...

THANK YOU for the post! Often times signing manners looks 'artificial' but when we keep signing we are just amaze how well manners and aware our kids are!