Scientifically proven benefits of baby signing
Signing with little ones of all ages and stages provides incredible insight into their world, long before they have a chance to utter their first words.
Once you start using signing to communicate, the benefits soon become apparent and you witness the transition of a squalling infant to a confident communicating baby. As you see your baby starting to respond to simple gestures, your interaction with your baby becomes more engaging. Your bonding continues to flourish with lots of eye contact, fun activities and an intimate understanding of your baby's needs and interests.
All this, just by using your hands and British Sign Language, to "talk" to your baby!
For over 30 years Dr Joseph Garcia, the world’s leading authority on baby signing, has been providing some of the most exciting and authoritative research in this field. These are just some of the proven benefits of using signing with your baby:
- Removes distress and therefore a baby’s need to cry in order to get what they may need.
- Reduces your baby’s stress levels and the release of the stress hormone cortisol in both baby and parent.
- Provides your baby with an easy way to communicate with you - before they can talk!
- Strengthens the bond between you and your baby, helping to develop secure attachment
- Better and more complex language development – generally at an earlier age.
- When speech begins, signing can help you to distinguish what your baby actually means leading to less frustration and anger.
- Helps in the development of language and literacy skills which is at the heart of young children’s learning; children need to communicate effectively to learn and develop other skills
Research also suggests that signing fuels intellectual development:
signing infants are likely to become confident communicators for life.
Signing also greatly aids inclusion of those little ones with special needs, enhancing communication and interaction at all levels and with all abilities.
Baby signing’s greatest benefit is that it allows babies to express themselves clearly. By using simple signs in conjunction with speech, babies gradually learn to make a connection between sign, word, and action – the process is much the same as the way they learn to speak. The difference is that a baby's ability to make simple gestures develops many months before their vocal mechanism has developed enough to speak and it can be a year or more before they can tackle more complex words.
Signing can reduce guesswork required by parents and results in calmer, more contented and confident children.
The benefits of signing do not end when speech begins.
Toddlers are frequently unable to enunciate words clearly – by using the signs they have learned alongside their very first words, not only can a parent understand what it is that the child is trying to say, but also gently correct speech from the start.
Using signing, in conjunction with speech, also aids older children as it:
- promotes better communication
- builds a larger word bank
- facilitates more effective learning
- increases confidence
- improves literacy skills
- creates calmer learning environments
- brings meaning to everyday activities with inclusive methods
- Reinforces memory and creative skills
- Enables children with special needs to communicate supporting inclusion