Armin Brott (Mr. Dad) has a post on his website about teaching your baby sign language. As a parent of a child who learned a few signs before she hit 1, I can concur that yes, it does work and no, it did not delay the development of speaking in The Girl. I wonder how the myth began that babies who learn sign language could have delayed speech? It certainly isnâ€™t the case with The Girl who, at 2/12, is a chatterbox.
The signs she learned were pretty basic – “please” and “more” being the 2 she seemed to use quite often.
The best part of teaching her sign language was that it seemed to reduce a bit of frustration in The Girl. Signing gave her a way to express herself, ask for something and have us respond to what she needed. And it was quite easy. As Brott’s article points out, consistency, repetition and saying the words as we signed them seemed to be key factors in how quickly The Girl picked up the signs.
If you are thinking about the sign route, I would highly recommend it.
Even before she could speak (thanks to sign language), we have been drilling the girl on using â€œpleaseâ€ and â€œthank youâ€ when she wants something. Many times a day for the past 2+ years we have been reminding her to use those two words, but it seemed that no matter how much reminding we did, she just wouldnâ€™t spontaneously use â€œpleaseâ€ and â€œthank youâ€ in context. As soon as we would remind her, she would say please or thank you, but never on her own.
Then out of the blue 2 weeks ago it happened. The Girl asked me for a drink of milk, and ended her sentence with a casual â€œpleaseâ€. Fantastic! Then, when she got her milk, it was a nice â€œthank youâ€. Lovely! So I made sure to give her a bit of positive feedback â€“ â€œHey, you said please and thank you and I didnâ€™t have to remind you. Nice work!â€ To which she just gave me a grin and shuffled back into her play room.
Since then, the pleases and thank youâ€™s have been flowing much easier from her. Occasionally, she still has to be reminded, but the frequency is less and less.
So for all you parents who (like me) were going batty with the endless repeating and reminders, take this post as a positive and persevere! As for me, I am making sure to enjoy it while it lasts.