Signing children, by their very nature, tend to be more confident.
From experience, we would say that it comes down to one very simple fact - signing gives a child the reassurance of a responsive parent who is able to understand and meet their needs without any difficulty.
Our classes are uniquely centred around the principles of Abraham Maslows 'Hierarchy of Needs'. Created in 1943, the Hierarchy of Needs was based on Maslow’s theory that Man’s “most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire or focus motivation upon higher level needs.”
Basic needs are literally the requirements for human survival; food, drink, sleep, excretion. Without these needs being met, quite simply the body cannot continue to function. If a child is unable to communicate these needs and be understood, they are unable to progress to higher level needs, impacting on interests and learning – always concentrating on the unmet need, feeling “anxious and tense”.
By introducing simple first signs, children can be more confident of having their needs met even if they do not know how to ask verbally. A more confident child is a much happier child and consequently less frustrated and able to engage in learning; frustrated children are very often disruptive and unhappy.
A child who is confident of having his or her needs met can indeed focus their motivation on higher level needs and interests - climbing, gazing at butterflies, contemplating ants and eating daisies…..
However, there is more to signing, and responsive parenting, than just meeting basic needs.
Signing also allows a child to be able to clearly express anything that is on their mind and enables parents to make the appropriate response without delay. Perhaps your child is hurt, angry, scared, in need of help but are pre-verbal or so upset that they are unable to speak.
Signing means that they have the right tools to tell you what the matter is and this means that the guesswork of understanding why your child may be crying simply disappears. You can give comfort, help manage the emotion or respond to a help request immediately - responding to your child and allowing your child to build confidence and independence.