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Signing With Babies And Children: 2011

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Celebrate through Song and Sign

A very beautiful song becomes even more beautiful with signs.

Happy New Year every one. For this year of the dragon 2012, may you be fearless and learn some thing new while being and becoming the number one you!

May we each celebrate our own individualities through song and sign.

My goal this new year is to learn a new song in a different language, along with the signs. I challenge you to take a fun journey with your child and learn the signs to your favorite song together this new year.

Take a look at this music video I enjoyed compiling together as different people around the world are seen expressing themselves as well as celebrating their individuality through song and sign!

Happy signing as our dear Etel would say, and happy singing this new year as well!

Song | Lyrics: Sekai Ni Hitotsu Dake No Hana
Band: SMAP
Subtitles: JE Mix Fansubs

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sign Language: The BEST Holiday Present

There are three reasons why sign language is one of the best gifts you can give to your child and to your family. First, introducing sign language to your baby will help stimulate his brain "muscles" and will lead to better intellectual performance later in life. As a parent, you know that it is important to give your child the necessary tools to succeed--why not begin now by letting him learn baby sign language? Second, sign language can allow for improved and clearer communication between family members. Your baby will feel like he can tell his mommy when he wants more milk and when he feels sad. Not only that, your baby can tell his older brother how much he loves him and even learn to read a book to him! Third, and most importantly, baby sign language decreases your child’s frustration and makes a happier baby. Baby sign language will allow you and your child to bond in a way that is beneficial to both—you will love seeing your child learn and your child will love having all of your attention! Baby sign language is the solution that parents have been searching for!

Celebrating and Shining~


Monday, December 5, 2011

Process of Elimination

I think we have all experienced the process of elimination when communicating with our family and peers.

When it comes to children learning how to communicate with their words, process of elimination can become long and drawn out with tantrums in between. But with signing, the process can become not only faster but quite joyful.

Take for instance, my 18 month old. We were at a friend's house, and he came into the kitchen where both the other mom and I were standing. Wait, let's tell this story from my 18 month old's perspective:

"So, I was standing there clearly signing 'cheese' like my mom had taught me. She looked over at the other mom and kept talking about how cute I was signing 'train'. I thought for sure this was how to sign 'cheese' (put one pointer finger on top of the other and move them them back and forth).

I tried it again to no avail, so I began moving closer to the refridgerator and pointing to it. I don't know why my mom didn't get it. She then asked the other mom jokingly but seriously if there was a train in the fridge (remembering I was looking in there earlier). It was then that she put the two together. Good job mom. Under 45 seconds!"

So, yes, my son had to wait a little while, signing anxiously an approximation sign for 'cheese' that resembled train. These thoughts went through my head: was there a train toy he just played with, was there a train magnet on the fridge, was there literally a train in the fridge (yes, funny, but I thought maybe a train picture was on a container of some sort). I then realized that about 10 minutes earlier he was given string cheese and therefore wanted more. I opened the fridge, signed 'cheese' and told him good job over and over, smiling from ear to ear.

Our children learn the process of elimination too... adding more details to what they need or want and being patient in helping us learn what they need or want.

Enjoy the journey.

Written by Shawna Tran

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

iPad iPhone app by SignShine--- 17 moths old Stella Signs!

Here is another review on SignShine app--- I am so humbled with Stella and her signing.

Kristine, Stella's mom: "I know I already reviewed the SignShine app last month, but since purchasing additional songs, it has become one of her favorites, and I have an update to share. In the last few days, her signs have evolved to express emotions by using her facial expressions with her hands. (Note her furrowed brow and pouty lips for the “wha-wha-wha” part of the “Wheels on the Bus” song.) So cool!"

etel: "I am so humbled by you and your daughter's story. Seeing Stella signing with SignShine's app is just a dream come true! Before programming the app, I had the mental picture of a mom and a baby enjoying learning these songs together… and you simply brought it to life. I am so delighted to see that. You are a very special mom. You show the world that electronics are not just used as a 'babysitter' but that it is miraculous to enjoy, learn and communicate together with your baby".

Thursday, November 10, 2011

11.11.11 Is it a Special Sign?

11.11.11. November 11, 2011 is such a special day that comes around once every hundred years. 

So remember to take time on 11.11.11 to do something really special with your little ones! It's a once in a lifetime chance. 11.11.11. November 11, 2011 is such a special day that comes around once every hundred years. Don't forget to take advantage of celebrating this day with your family and loved ones. If you're signing with your children, take time in the day to have fun with them and sign along to songs. Your children love hearing songs and what better way to spend time with them than to listen to songs together. They'll surely appreciate having their mommy or daddy sign with them on this special day. 

Keep Shining and Celebrating,

A Father and Son Moment

A young father recently shared with me that his little boy woke up in the middle of the night and was crying. At first the new dad couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but then he noticed his son using his hands. Both he and his wife had been teaching their baby sign language, and their baby was learning sign language at his child care center. So when the little 11 month old looked at his dad, and signed ‘more music’, the father, recognized his signs, and began singing a lullaby to his little boy. The boy put his head on his dad’s shoulder and went back to sleep as his daddy sang him a lullaby. How wonderful to be understood! How great that the father was able to recognize his signs and to understand the intent the boy had in communicating to his father. How wonderful that the baby could feel understood and respected! ahhhh, the beauty of sign language.

Babies, when given a mode of communication that is available to them, can express themselves even when they don't yet have their vocal chords fully developed. They feel empowered with the use of their hands and intentional eye contact.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Expression through Signing

I went to a Korean Pop concert in New York this past weekend. During a break in the artists' performances, I was pleasantly surprised when the pop artists were featured signing, representing feelings of what their music has to offer.

With signing being a part of my life, I can't help but feel the empowerment of expression through the means of multiple facets.

Written by Shawna Tran

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dedicated to Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

I woke up this morning to this beautiful blog alert which was written by Kristin, Digital Baby. I was honored to have this blog dedicated to Steve Jobs.

"Someone suggested that I try this SignShine app with Stella to sign with music. The iPad app is free to download, and it includes one free song (Itsy Bitsy Spider). For $2.99, you can get a package of 10 additional children’s songs. The woman in the video is Etel Leit, whose gorgeous smile seems to extend right down to her hands. She is a great teacher.
Stella caught on very quickly, and I’m tempted to get the 10-pack. I’ve actually seen other moms/caregivers use similar actions while singing songs to Stella (even in Nursery last Sunday!), but Stella seemed to be more engaged in this video format. Then again, anything transmitting from her beloved iPad is gold.
(Dedicated to Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How a Baby Can Sign “Rhinoceros”

Sign Language has been typically associated with the deaf, but in reality, it can also benefit the lives of the hearing, which is showcased none-so-apparently than through a video of two of the most adorable children I have ever laid eyes on. I might be a bit more biased because I do get to see them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but I’m sure after watching this video, you would agree as well. My daughter Zoë (almost four in the video) and my son Dylan (16 months at the time) are reading to each other, first a book about animals and then a book about people. The truly amazing part of the video is when Zoë helps Dylan do the correct sign for rhinoceros. As their mother, I’m very proud of how well they’re communicating with each other and I definitely love seeing them get along so well. You can tell that Dylan is starting to verbalize some of these words, which is wonderful because words like “whale” aren’t typically taught to children until much later. This is a wonderful video to show how beneficial sign language can be for your family—you have time to take a break and record videos of them while your children read books to each other!

etel leit

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Use Sign Language and Books to Potty Train Your Baby and Toddler

When your toddler is showing signs of being ready to use the toilet - an awareness of being soiled, hiding in his favorite corner to have privacy while he has his bowel movement, a fascination with watching himself tinkle or watching daddy tinkle - it’s a good idea to begin reading books about going to the toilet. There are many books about going to the bathroom, but the ones that focus on normalizing the defecation and urination process in all people and animals, helps the toddler realize that he is just like everyone else. The sign for going to the bathroom is simply the letter ‘t’ and shaking it. While there are many words that we use to mean ‘going to the bathroom’ - ‘poo poo’, ‘pee pee’, ‘bathroom’, ‘potty’, ‘wee wee’, ‘doo doo’, etc. - there is just one sign that you use to mean ‘potty’. Having multiple words or vocalizations for the one word, can be confusing. If you focus on teaching the sign for ‘potty’ through the books, and by consistently using the same simple sign every time you or your spouse use the toilet, every time you take him to the potty, you will have simplified the learning process, and have increased the chances the child will be able to successfully communicate the idea of using the toilet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby Sign Language Games: The Snow Globe

Baby Sign Language is a great tool to encourage interaction between children and adults. One of my favorite ways is through making art projects!

How many of you have a snow globe at home? Did you receive it at Christmas from a family member? Did you buy it when you were on vacation? You shake it for a few seconds, get really excited for a few minutes…and then forget about it until next time.

Making homemade snow globes is a fun and simple activity. It requires team work between the child and the adult and allows both of you to spend time together. Your snow globe could be a new ornament to decorate your house or even a present for a family member!

I made it with my kids one afternoon, and it was a great way for my kids to learn new signs and to have a lot of fun too!

If you follow the instructions below, you and your child can easily make a snow globe together. You can put any small toy or figure that your child really likes to sign: a little dog, a boy, or his or her favorite animal.

How to Make a Snow Globe
1 medium-sized clear plastic container or a baby food jar
White glitter (I used gold, and the colored glitter doesn’t work as well)
Glue gun
Small plastic figure of your child’s favorite sign
Cold water

1. Wash container and remove label.
2. Using a glue gun, attach the plastic figure or decorations to the inside of the jar lid.
3. Fill the jar ½ inch from the top with cold water.
4. Add glitter.
5. Screw lid on the jar. Let it set overnight with the lid side up.
The next morning, you and your child will have a wonderful surprise waiting for you! Now that the snow globe is ready, you can have a fun and interactive meaningful playtime. You can even introduce new signs or reinforce existing signs with your child.

First, SHAKE the snowball and sign WAIT.
Wait for the glitter-rain to fall down…sign WAIT again.

Then sign RAIN and SNOW. You can sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider and use the RAIN and SNOW signs. (See our free iPhone / iPad app to learn how to sign along!)

Ask your child WHERE IS _________?

Sign WAIT…and then reveal the little figure! Here it is!

What other signs would you sign in this activity?

Sign  & Shine,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sign Language Aids in the Development of Emotional Intelligence

A mom shared with me the story of being at a restaurant with her six-year old child who has cerebral palsy. A nice woman came over to their table and give her child a balloon. With a huge smile and perfect eye contact, the child signed, 'Thank you'!

Not only is 'thank you' a word that does not represent a concrete object and requires that the child understand the situation and think abstractly; it also is a word that requires the child to think beyond the world of 'self' and to demonstrate feelings toward another person. Sign language allows a young child to develop and better understand the impact he has on others. When you teach a young child manners using ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry, he can begin to see the positive impact he has on others and begin to develop his emotional intelligence. When he hurts others, he realizes that it doesn't feel good, and he says he's 'sorry'; when he gives others a hug, or a ‘thank you’, he knows it makes them feel good and happy. These acts of personal engagement are important aspects of emotional intelligence. People with high emotional intelligence will find themselves at a great advantage in life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Babies Who Have a Means to Express Themselves Are Happier Babies

A child is naturally curious. He is born into this world with a desire to learn. If we nurture this desire by giving him a means with which he can express himself, then he will continue to find joy in learning. As we have observed in so many young babies, they are able to understand what we say to them well before they are able to talk or express themselves. And when they are unable to express themselves, they often become frustrated. In other words, their minds are actually processing the language they hear and creating thoughts, yet their vocal chords are still developing and so they are limited in how they may express themselves. By introducing sign language to your baby, you are enabling your child to now have a means through which he may express himself; hence, the joy of learning, the joy of being understood, and the feeling of respect and empowerment continue to grow.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Project Nim: Baby Sign Language with Chimps

Project Nim, a movie about a chimpanzee named Nim Chimpsky, the most famous primate to make a dent in the human world as a result of his participation in a landmark linguistics study.

The documentary follows 1973 Columbia University project intended to teach primates sign language. Is that a form of Baby Sign Langauge.

Did you watch the movie?
Is signing a form of communication when words are not enough?

I didn't watch the movie, yet, but I would love to get YOUR input.

Let the Sign Shine,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to sign FLAG, STAR and FIREWORKS?

Learning WITH your child is the best gift you can share with him or her.

Enjoy 4th of July signing dictionary.
You can cut the pictures to little squares and play memory signing game.

Have a SPARKLY, SHINY 4th of July,

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sign & Sign Baby Sign Language Father's Day!

Want to suprise daddy with a fun baby sign language song?
Easy to learn song, sang to to the Tune of "Frere Jacques".

Happy Father's Day,


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jew, Muslim and Christian....... in Sign Language

My father-in-law met the comedian Dan Ahdoot oo the airplane flying from LA to NY a few weeks ago. Dan shared with my father-in-law HIS sign language experience on Jay Leno.

[start watching at 2:30 minutes]:

for FUN and LAUGH,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sign the Hurt Away

Ouch! That hurt.

Do you just love that age where your little one is learning the joys of pulling, pushing, and hitting things? Yeah, I am all for watching my one year old hit two wooden toys together and find humor in the sound, pushing a ride-on toy around to see how fast he can walk behind it, and pulling his new friend, blanket, behind him every where he goes.

BUT what about the pulling of sister's hair, pushing (or more so throwing) down toys from the upstairs banister, or using both hand to hit brother's head? Not so joyful to watch, but indeed a time to teach through example.

My seven year old son was able to help me teach through example, although at first he was confused by the situation taking place:
My one year old hit me on top of the head with his sipper cup as I was holding him. That definitely hurt. Ouch! I took the cup and began to hit my own head a couple of times. I also hit his head lightly with it back (disclosure note: you may not want to try this at home. It's not full proof... It may resort to reassuring your child that hitting nevertheless hard or light, is okay^_^).

This back and forth pretend hitting continued while between each motion, I would make a hurt expression and say and sign "hurt." I found myself saying and signing at least five or six times before I put the sipper cup down and moved on with our evening.

It wasn't too long after that my youngest was pulling his sister's hair. That's when my seven year old taught by example as I watched him calmly say no, and then sign "hurt." He did this a couple of times.

Well, rest assure, signing "hurt" became a new trend by my children as well as my nieces and nephews (with a few cry out for help inbetween). And over a two week time period, the hitting, pushing, and pulling has more so resorted back to the toys.

Role playing a situation is a great way to help teach a sign or convey a meaning of a sign or word. This is also how I teach "hot." I pretend to touch the food that is hot and sign "hurt" and "hot." "Hurt" can be a great tool when your child is sick. You can ask, "where does it hurt" while signing "hurt" by your ear, mouth, tummy, or head.

Another word that often goes along with "hurt" that I have yet to teach to my youngest is "sorry."
I have a feeling that I haven't missed all opportunities on this one.^_^

Written by Shawna Tran (a mother of four)

Friday, May 27, 2011

What Do You Remember?

Dale Cone of Experince:

Edgar Dale (April 27, 1900 – March 8, 1985) was an American educationist who developed the famous Cone of Experience. He made several contributions to audio and visual instruction, including a methodology for analyzing the content of motion pictures. He was a professor of education at Ohio State University.

In 1933 Dale wrote a paper on how to effectively create a High School film appreciation class. This paper has been noted for having a very different view of adolescent interaction with films than that taken by the Film Control Boards of the time.
[Source: Wikipedia].

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Click and ShINe!

we are SO proud to present our NEW LOOK, NEW FEATURES, NEW LINKS!

SignShine's Team

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On Being Mom by Anna Quindlen

My Mom - Pure Love

to my mom--- who is my real hero and my real expert:

"If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they everexisted. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin.

ALL MY BABIES are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach. T. Berry Brazelton. Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything.

One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shiftin certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.

How silly it all seems now, the obsessing about language acquisition and physical milestones, the riding the waves of normal, gifted, hyperactive, all those labels that reduced individuality to a series of cubbyholes.

But I could not help myself. I had watched my mother casually raise five children born over 10 years, but by watching her I intuitively knew that I was engaged in the greatest and potentially most catastrophic task of my life. I knew that there were mothers who had worried with good reason, that there were children who would have great challenges to meet.

We were lucky; ours were not among them. Nothing horrible or astonishing happened: there was hernia surgery, some stitches, a broken arm and a fuchsia cast to go with it. Mostly ours were the ordinary everyday terrors and miracles of raising a child, and our children's challenges the old familiar ones of learning to live as themselves in the world. The trick was to get past my fears, my ego and my inadequacies to help them do that.

I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

me, first grade
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons or the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-o-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out.

I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were".

Happy Mother's Day,