Why sign if he has a voice?

February 20, 2012

Yes, my baby can speak, well, he can say several words.  He is 18 months old and like any toddler his age, he clearly has a voice of his own.
I decided to teach him a few words in sign language before he could even say several words.

According to this article on “Parents” magazine, “Parents are beginning to realize that children’s proficiency in using their hands comes well before using the more intricate muscles of their tongue and vocal cords. And both parents and experts agree that signing with your baby can relieve his frustration at not being able to communicate with you (and your frustration at not being able to understand him).”

My baby boy was able to communicate with us effectively when he was close to turning 1. There were no cries, screams, tantrums nor was there food or sippy cups thrown on the floor when he learned to tell me he wanted more food, more water or even more kisses that tickled him or more singing of a song he found entertaining. It worked like magic.

We were so proud when he signed his first word “más” (more in Spanish), then he went on by learning how to say “listo” (all done), “gracias” (thank you) and “por favor” (please).

Some people who have seen him communicate with sign language ask me if I don’t care that he signs those words rather than saying them (now that he can say several words verbally). My answer is no.
Just as he learned how to communicate through signing, he will have to learn to communicate verbally with his teacher and friends in pre-school once he realizes that they don’t understand what he is saying.

Besides, I think it’s totally awesome to teach your child the “magic words” very early in life, and of course, how to communicate with you.

My husband and I have to keep on reinforcing that he continues to say “thank you” and “please”, for example, when he is able to say these words verbally. I’m glad to say that my boy has taken the first steps towards having good social skills.

Cool stuff.

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2 Responses to “Why sign if he has a voice?”

  1. rodolfo moran Says:

    To make matters even better, sign language is ANOTHER LANGUAGE! scientifically, kids that learn sign language or two languages at a time may develop a tad bit slower than the monolingual children, but once they reach a certain age and developmental milestone, their development catapults past that of monoligual child, as well as his social skills, inferencing skills, and reasoning skills! very awesome!


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