Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sign language

One of the frustrating things for new parents is that their baby's communication is usually 1-bit: the baby is either crying (on), or not crying (off). When the baby is crying it is for different reasons. They could be:

  • Hungry
  • Sleepy
  • In need of change
  • Hot
  • Cold
  • Over-stimulated
  • Bored
It is hard to decode these competing and sometimes conflicting needs, although some people claim they can from the tone of the cry, and its duration. Lucky them.

Most parents look forward to their babies' talking so that they can communicate their needs. What they don't realize is that when the talking stage arrives, so does the arguing stage. I am looking forward to that.

It turns out we don't have to wait that long. We can teach babies sign language early on, and it will help them communicate their needs through signing as early as 6 months, which sounds like a blessing. There are a ton of videos on youtube that teach baby sign language but nothing beats attending a class, especially one that gives you the history behind the sign, and why it was chosen to mean what it represents.

The class was short and sweet, an hour and a half, and covered about 60 signs that you can teach your baby that are relevant to their needs as they grow. The most important ones to remember are of course milk, hunger, thirst, sleep, hot, change, cold, bored, over-stimulated, toilet and poo, but there were others such as walk, run, jump, stop, go, and colors. The signs are relatively simple to perform especially before the baby's finer motor skills develop. I can't wait to use these.

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