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Signing With Babies And Children: March 2010

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sign Language for Babies

Baby sign language is one of the most rewarding things by far that I have tried with my own children. There are many benefits that have been discovered in the scientific research, shared at classes and documented on websites however I want to share a few of the most special moments that signing has provided our family over the past 13 months. My story is fairly long so stay tuned over the coming weeks as I tell is part 1.
Scarlette is 17 months old now and we introduced baby sign language to her at the age of 4 months. We understood that it would be a long time until she signed to us but we were keen to see her reaction nonetheless. What I didn't expect at this tender age was the feeling that she actually understood us.

It did take a couple of weeks but she would intently watch us, and eventually we get an indication that she actually understood that we were communicating with her. At this early age there was no way that she was going to have the muscle control or the dexterity to sign to us however there were some important things that we could tell her - for instance that it was time for a bath, time for milk or time for bed. This proved to be very beneficial in these early months.

In part 2 I will let you in on some of the major milestones as she discovered how to communicate with her little be continued.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

5 Minutes Peace

Sometimes I am grateful for still having sign language in my family.

Even though my children are not fluent in ASL, they started signing at 6 1/2 months and are still able to use basic sentences and have a fairly large vocabulary. So I have decided to implement a new form of discipline in my home… with two boys, almost 11 and 9 yrs old, there’s a lot of excitement and activity.

When I need 5 minutes peace, I just begin signing to my kids instead of raising my voice. Most of the time, it quiets them down like when a teacher begins to whisper. And it encourages them to sign to each other as well.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

start small

when first starting to sign with children, it can be a bit overwhelming. this is true with signing with babies, and can be even more so with older children, and with children with special needs.

my advice...start small.

pick what is really important. what do you find yourself saying every single day with your child?

once you figure that out, learn the sign, and sign it. over and over and over!

take a couple signs a week, and practice them. you'll see, it doesn't take long before what seemed like an overwhelming job, once broken down into smaller jobs, now doesn't seem so overwhelming.

and don't forget to have fun!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Few Mom Tips

Mommy Tips are what I’m going to list…
Communication/Bonding/Behavior: Start Signing NOW! It’s never too late to utilize ASL with children. Even if they have acquired a great amount of spoken words, introducing an additional language is where we are in our world!

Diaper Rash: You know the “Lansinoh” for breast feeding mothers? Well it’s GREAT on diaper rash. It sets up a waterproof barrier that protects your little one’s bum and helps to heal the chemical burns and chapping from the urine.

Teething: Best thing I ever did was cut small handed stalks of celery about 5 inches worth, place them in a bit of water in a cup in the refrig. When my daughter started the teething whine – I’d grab a stalk and she was satisfied. The celery is fibrous and can be gnawed on without chunking off like a carrot. It’s great with kidos that seem to have a texture issue with the old standby teething rings.

BathTime: I highly recommend the safety first baby bath seat. It swivels and locks. It keeps baby’s face/head up out and away from the water. It also allows a more hands-free bathing opportunity. You can actually use both hands for bathing and playing rather than attempting to hang on to a wiggly slippery 6-month old!

That’s all the wisdom I have for today! Hope these nuggets help!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Next Time Won't You "SIGN" WIth Me

I'm not sure how the end of your "abc" song sounds, but my children have grown up singing, "now I know my abcs, next time won't you 'sign' with me."

I have enjoyed teaching my children their ABCs with American Sign Language.

Lately I have been enjoying the doodle board to help my nearly 2 year old daughter learn her ABCs by letter recognition. She’s been singing the ABCs since the age of 18 months with fine tuning occurring each month following. This fine tuning includes her pronunciation becoming clearer and her singing becoming more frequent.^_^ With her interest in letters, it’s a great opportunity to teach letter recognition. And even without the letters in view such as on a doodle board, signing has allowed me to teach the alphabet in a visual engaging way!

And what better way to teach letter recognition than with American Sign Language.
*sing the alphabet when ever you think of it (driving in the car is a favorite time of mine to break out in song/ ask your child to sign a certain letter as you are driving)
*and add those signs when ever possible (while feeding your child in his high chair... between those many bites or while reading their favorite ABC book)
*find opportunities to engage your child in learning their abcs (magnetic abcs on the refrigerator or white board, bath tub letters, or even while peering over your keyboard on your computer)

There’s many opportunities to teach ABCs. Take for instance when you’re on the computer and your little one notices the letters on the keyboard or when she sees letters on a cartoon and says “ABCs.” They understand that these symbols which we call letters have names. And what a fun way to help give each letter it’s own significant symbol through signing.

Written by Shawna Tran:

Is it too early? Is it too late?

"When is the best age to start signing with my child," is the one most common question I am asked by every parent. A quick browse on the Net will result in various answers, no surprise, and the truth is that I do not like to give an exact time frame to any parent. Children are unique in their development, and sign language is no different than rolling over, sitting up, smiling, crawling, and walking. Your baby will sign according to his/her own time frame.
Babies are often ready to sign back when they sit by themselves and can point. Does that mean we should only start signing at that time? Definitely not. We start talking to them well before this point and the same applies to sign language. In fact, babies who are born to families with deaf parents or siblings are exposed to signing at birth. I do not believe in ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ – you are the expert on your child and your instincts will lead the way. Keep in mind, however, that babies are fast learners and may understand what you are signing well before they are able to sign back.

I began the signing process with my daughter when she was 8 months old. Today – 6 years later – signing remains part of her daily life and routine. Her vocabulary is so rich and she is constantly asking to learn more signs and words. (We just learned the signs for ‘imagination’ and ‘pretend’ as she is playing with dolls).

Recently I received an e-mail from Magda, a mom who uses sign language after participating in our class. Her message read:

“I took Etel's class when my son was 5 months. By 6 months, he started signing ’milk’, wow. My son was fascinated by the class, looking at everybody signing at the same time”.
“Put the Power of language into your child’s hands.”™

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Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner