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Signing With Babies And Children: Communication is about Connecting with Others

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Communication is about Connecting with Others

Signs, words, facial expressions, eye contact, a kick of the foot, cries and giggles are all about communication, and communication is about connecting with others, expressing needs, wants, thoughts and ideas. The more children and babies feel understood, the more they will use these modes of communication to initiate a reaction from you.

Establishing a routine allows children to anticipate and to feel in control; establishing a routine is a good thing. Sign language is a wonderful tool to incorporate into your routine as it helps the baby’s brain to anticipate, remember and to be understood. By having a routine, the chances of your baby guessing what is next, or anticipating what is next is much greater. “Oh, so when mommy signs ‘milk’, I’m going to be fed.” Eventually he’ll try to communicate his desire by imitating your sign or by approximating his own.

Focus on keeping learning fun, and communication about being understood. When you demonstrate that you understand what your baby is thinking, he feels successful in his communication - his simple reward is “they understand me!” When I asked, 'oh do you want milk?', your baby may give you a big smile, nod of his head, a nuzzle in your breast, a clap of his hands or a gleeful kick of his foot. This is great communication. He is using his signs to let you know what he wants.

3 comments: said...

Remember to fingerspell your child's name and use their name sign as much as possible.

Parenting tip: Give your baby the words to express what s/he is feeling inside.When you are feeling an emotion, let your baby see your emotion and give a label to that emotion so he can begin to relate and understand what feelings mean. We assume that babies know what feelings are, but for the most part, babies are learning these emotions and as adults, we need to help them. As they experience the many emotions, help them by identifying what you think they are feeling. By doing so, eventually they will be able to tell you what they are feeling.

My Baby Details said...

Thank you for sharing and reminding us the importance of having a routine... some thing a child can anticipate and expect. Of course routines change, and whether our routines are consistent or change from time to time, using signs to communicate what is going to come next, allows children to feel more secure with the power of "knowing what to expect."

For example, when your child wants to go outside and play, but he needs to change his diaper first, it's a good time where you can simply sign "dirty" "change diaper" and "outside." If you are consistent in signing and expressing what is going to come next or what has to be done first, your child can begin to understand for himself the power of sequence^_^.

marab said...

Great information! The last paragraph about focusing on learning AND having fun, is such a beautifully balanced concept. It is ideal to be having fun with your little ones while you are communicating and educating them. That's why Signing with your little ones is so wonderful! But remember, signing shouldn't be tedious or demanding of their attention because then it is not a positive experience.

Instead, have a fun, light hearted experience, full of music, and lively facial expressions. Your children are bound to be watching you, observing your movements, and receptively understanding you before they are capable of expressively responding to you.

Continue to sign, sing, establish routines, focus on learning AND having fun.....