Baby Sign Language Fosters Communication, Bonding and Brain Development
By Jessa McClure
By Jessa McClure
Being able to communicate with your child is key to decreasing frustration, and cementing a solid bond between parent and child. But it can sometimes be difficult to do this when your baby is too young to express how he or she is feeling, or what they need.
Tansyl White of Belton began using sign language with her fourteen-month-old daughter, Ella, when she was just six months old.
"We saw success with a friend who used baby sign language so we decided to try it," White said. "Now she can tell me she wants milk, more food and she even tells her friends to ‘be nice.'"
She has also seen a decrease in meltdowns since beginning sign language.
Baby Signing Time instructor, Lauren Copeland said she has seen dozens of her students and their parents find a closer relationship and a mutual understanding.
She believes in the Signing Time program, developed by Rachel Coleman, so much that she even used it with her own child.
"The reason I started [using signs] with my son is that it killed any frustration I had," Copeland said. "By the time he was seven months old, he could sign milk. He wasn't sitting there screaming."
Now Copeland teaches the Signing Time classes all over central Texas, and gives children and adults the chance to learn signs that help them better communicate with each other.
"I've seen one-year-olds who are able to say, ‘I'm hungry' or ‘I'm tired,'" she said.
And better communication isn't the only positive effect of signing with your baby. It can also boost brain function and early literacy.
"It's scientifically proven that it broadens their vocabulary," Copeland said. "And kids on average who sign from birth have a higher IQ and do better in school than children who never signed at all."
The sign language expert tries to incorporate educational elements into her classes along with other essentials for healthy development like music, movement and even art.
Copeland hosts classes and workshops at My Little Play Place in Waco, and in Temple in conjunction with the city's parks and recreation department.
For more information about these classes and about signing with your baby, visit Copeland's Facebook page
or email her at LilypadSigningAcademy@aol.com
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