While I was pregnant, I had read that teaching your baby sign language will help avoid the "terrible twos" since the main problem is an inability to verbally communicate. Now... only time will tell if this is true, but we are already seeing fantastic results.
Lucky for us, I took American Sign Language as my foreign language in high school... so I'm somewhat fluent... and honestly, also a bit rusty. Coincidently, Husband had a deaf friend in high school. So he's really picking it up fast.
Anyhoo-- using sign language with Camsters was an easy choice for us. Who doesn't want to try something that can help with the "terrible twos"?! We have been signing some basic words with the Camsters since she was first born: "love you", food, all-done/finished, kids, school, mom, dad, dog, cat, play, bath, grandma, grandpa, etc.
The article also said that babies usually don't start signing back until at least 10 months of age. And that was hard to keep in mind. At times it seemed that she understood even if she didn't repeat the sign. Kind of like when you say "daddy", and she looks over towards him... you know she understands.
Well the Camsters just hit 10 months old this month and I swear there has been a sudden increase in comprehension and repeating signs. It was amazing really. When we got our holiday tree the first week of December, she repeated her first sign... "tree". It was not a sign we do all the time either. Maybe during the summer a few times when we were sitting outside. But after showing her the tree and then the sign for tree, she started doing it too. It was unmistakable. Then last week she started signing "bath" and "dog". Then this morning signed "all-done" when I told her we were finished with breakfast and looked out the window at the tree on our patio and signed "tree".
I mean I can only tell you how amazing it is to feel like you're actually communicating with your little baby. It is incredible that at 10 months old my daughter can sign to me what she's thinking about. Wow!
The BEST and most important thing is that ANYONE can learn and teach sign language to any age child. You don't have to have taken classes or have a deaf friend. Once you see a few basic signs you will realize they are really just pictorial representations of words using your hands. "Dog" is just two hand slaps on your thigh... like you are calling a dog over to you. "Bath" is your right hand in a fist and crossed over your chest... now move your hand/fist in a scrubbing motion. Makes sense right?
There are multiple free resources out there for you to learn some basic sign language:
1. Library books... Duh!
2. I use this all the time... ASL video dictionary: www.aslpro.org
3. Download an iPhone app
Just do a Google search and get started! Seriously! It's probably the easiest second-language you could learn.
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