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Signing With Babies And Children: Watch What You Say!

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Watch What You Say!

Babies pay attention and copy what their parents do, in more ways than one! Recent studies have found that 6-month-old babies pay attention to the lips of their parents—even going so far as to watch their mommy’s lips and attempt to form the same shape and sounds. Babies are extremely attentive to the lip movements of other people around them, which has implications for speech development in children.
Thinking about a baby saying “mama” or “dada” makes all of us feel a little warmer inside. Because babies are more likely to pay attention to develop verbal communication after watching the lip movements of adults around them, it is extremely important to engage your child in face-to-face interactions.
We are all very busy and each one of our days is filled with endless to-do lists, but it is imperative to remember to take time for the important things in our lives—the things that make us the happiest. So next time you want to play a baby DVD while you’re multitasking (sound familiar?!), remember to take a break after, and spend some quality one-on-one time with your child. Who know? Your little one could surprise you by saying something! 

Florida scientists discovered that starting around age 6 months, babies begin shifting from the intent eye gaze of early infancy to studying mouths when people talk to them. Slowly gibberish begins to turn into syllables — think repetitive “ba ba ba ba” — and eventually “mama” and “dada”. For more information about the study conducted, check out The Blaze!


TravelSize said...

This is very fascinating and something I didn't know before. I always thought babies were more auditory learners. Why? Maybe because we attribute talking to sound and often neglect the impact of non-verbal cues. I'm glad to learn something new today!

Anonymous said...

As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I have been concerned about children talking to their parents in profile while they are on cell phones and other devices. This article validated my concern so I found it particularly interesting. I think it's important to share this information with new parents especially with "at-risk" babies. Adding sign language as a method of communication would help to bring attention back to face-to face communication.

@ttitude writer said...

It is very amazing to know that babies pay attention to lip movements. I have always believed that babies are more attentive to body movements and audio visual learning.
Now, knowing that we have to pay attention to what we say, parents should put in as much as efforts as they can to spend time with the babies and help them explore ways to learn communication. At this stage of infancy, all they need is a way to express themselves - thoughts, ideas, desires, worries.
Thank you for helping me know an amazing fact today! Next time when I am with kids around, I will make sure I pay attention to my words and watch out if they are trying to mimic me! :)

Yael K said...

I think more people need to read this! If I may say so, it seems like we spend more time than we really realize staring at screens and communicating with applications than we spend communicating with other individuals face-to-face. It’s difficult to realize because technology seems to be such a benefit in so many aspects of our lives! But as you say, there needs to be a balance—technology, just like so many other distractions, really becomes a problem when we start neglecting the important things in life for its sake. You hit how I feel, spot on. I think much more emphasis should be placed on face-to-face interactions—so many beautiful things can come of it, and sometimes that’s hard to remember these days. Especially for parents with young children, these kinds of interactions have the potential to breed such positive results! This is definitely going on my list of daily reminders! ☺ Thank you!

Mary Jane said...

This is so true! Our oldest child is deaf. She came to us as a foster child at 3 years old and we adopted her. When she came she had no language. My husband and I signed to her to help her learn. At the same time we spoke to each other because we were learning sign language ourselves. When she started to sign she moved her lips at the same time. I realized she thought communicating was a combination of moving her hands and moving her lips. After she had more experience with a variety of signers she stopped moving her lips. She has taught us so much! Thanks for bringing back this wonderful memory.