by Mirta Desir
Most new parents know that early communication is critical for early childhood development. But how early? Mom can only narrate to a four-month-old the cloth-diaper-changing process for so long before she starts wondering, “is this amazing little infant truly processing this?” “Is this really considered ‘communication’?”
Well, that’s where baby sign language comes in. There is a trend to use “baby sign” that is derived from signs that are actually based from American Sign Language and culture. With the help of baby sign language, savvy parents communicate with their little ones way before the child can speak. Making communication a two-way street.
So here’s my quiz on “baby sign.”
[HDquiz quiz = “122”]
Some of you may still be questioning whether, at an early age, starting baby sign language – or any language for that matter — is good for children and is it even necessary. Research agrees that it is extremely beneficial for kids to start learning a second language early (and baby sign, based on American Sign Language, counts). Especially because a child’s language learning skills peak at about nine-months, yes, nine-months-old! Researcher Patricia Kuhl does an amazing job getting into the nitty-gritty details in her TED talk that explains just how important language is in early development.
Overall, it may be hard to believe that the four-month-old looking at you is doing more learning during this time than she will be doing at any other time in her life, but that’s the beauty of a child’s brain. So, keep on narrating the cloth-diaper-changing process with her and throw in a second language along the way. Baby sign is a good place to start.
I invite you to sign up for the free Smart Coos newsletter. When you do, you’ll receive an email about what’s happening in early childhood education — especially language learning and acquisition in very young brains. Sign up here.
I also invite you to visit my blog and join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@MirtaDesir) – whichever platform you prefer!
Thanks to Gelsey Brizo, Harold Jean-Louis and Catherine Geringer for their feedback and edits.