Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Baby Talk

For the last month or so I have been slowly introducing baby sign language to Pebble. I knew I wanted to try this before I had her. I think that it gives babies another avenue of communication and helps relieve some of the frustration of not being able to speak English.
Pebble is verbal – she tells me that she’s upset with a ‘mameeeeeeeeeeeh eh eh eh’. She tells me that she’s had enough of an activity with a high pitched ‘ah!’. She tells me that she’s happy with a gurgly, sing-song in varying pitches. And, of course, that goofy, cute laugh of hers.
Pebble also communicates with her body. She tells me that she wants to be picked up from her tummy by straightening all her limbs into stiff points and arching her back. She tells me she wants a toy by reaching out for it. She tells me she wants me back when she leans her whole body out of somebody else’s arms and into mine. She tells me she’s tired when she rubs her eyes and snuffs and snorts through her nose.
However, hopefully the baby sign language will help her to communicate even more. As I said, we’ve started very slowly, and so far I’m working on just one sign - ‘eat’. It seemed appropriate as it’s a sign that she can use to tell me she’s hungry, so she will be motivated to use it. It’s also something that we’re doing a lot of lately, as she is very quickly getting used to solid foods twice a day.
We’re using Australian Baby Hands, and got a good deal with their end of financial year sale. I got the book, flashcards, and DVD, which are all very easy to follow. Some of the other signs I’ve been thinking of starting next are ‘finished’ (which I already used with children at school), ‘more’, ‘ball’ and ‘book’. If you’re interested in trying it, you can get a free chart with a few simple signs from the Australian Baby Hands website.
Have you every tried baby sign language? How did it go?

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  1. Wow I would never have thought of this!

  2. Oh, I admire you for doing this. I wanted to but was daunted by it. I think I will next time though. Looking forward to hearing more about your progress. x

  3. This sounds great!! I will have to try this when I have a bub!!

    I'd love to see some videos on how it works for you and charlotte!

  4. I've never tried it but i've seen a segment about it on tv. The little fella was 2ish and he could verbally say a basic words but he could let his mum know a lot more stuff with the signs.
    It looked interesting but Flynn was already a few months old and i felt like i already had enough on my plate. He'll communicate in good time ... its all part of the adventure!

  5. Kylie, I'll be honest and say it was the last thing on my mind. I don't know what I was doing, but I didn't have a spare second to even breathe with a little baby, let alone teach them baby sign language. I found we were able to communicate pretty well (much as you are also finding). Hope it works for you!

  6. Yep, I used sign with both of my kids and found it fabulous. I was even interviewed for Practical Parenting mag about my experience with baby sign. We used signs for more, finished, milk, eat and sorry. At 22mths my son has now replaced all of these signs with words, though he often signs with them.

  7. @Tish - I'll get Charlotte to sign to you when you're in Ads next :)
    @Cat & @Maxabella- I spent A LOT of time during pregnancy thinking about things like this. Sign language is about one of 100 that I actually do :)
    @ Talia - great idea about the vids. I'll do that as soon as Charlotte starts signing back.
    @Amy - an adventure it is indeed!
    @SquiggleMum - it's encouraging to hear of others who've had success. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I look after 2 little girls who's grandma is deaf and at 2 the youngest is very aware of the signs. I was so interested in the subject that when I worked at the childcare centre introduced it to my toddler room (15 months+)and it was amazing how quickly they picked up on it. I stuck to the basics like mum, dad, eat, drink, light and it was such a great experience to share with them. Good luck with it!!

  9. Hey Kylie

    You know my views on baby signing. Its a long haul, and you think you are getting nowhere but Charlotte will pick it up. and it makes complete sense that kids can do this before speaking, much like they learn to clap. My twins were great at telling me they wanted milk, or to eat, or more. I only wish i persisted and made them learn more as it was so much easier with them able to communicate at such a young age. I can vividly remember doing the eat sign whilst they were both sitting there in their high chairs thinking i looked like a complete idiot!!! ha ha!!! Good luck with it and don't give up!!!



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