By: Haley Addis, M.S. CCC-SLP
One main goal of a speech language pathologist (SLP) is to help individuals more effectively communicate. In my case, these individuals are usually children. Not only do SLPs help children with delays and disorders, but they also encourage language and literacy development in typically developing children. One way that I love to help encourage communication is through baby sign language. By introducing little ones to baby signs, they are given the opportunity to communicate before they are able to talk. I encourage parents to start signing with their babies as early as birth! Of course, they won't sign back right away, but the more exposure the better. When talking about this early communication, you will generally hear the many benefits for the child. Something that is often forgotten is the benefits for the mother! When teaching families about baby signs, I always make sure to stress both the benefits for the babies and the moms!
What are some benefits for mom?
1. Less Stress. When a baby becomes a more effective communicator (e.g., think using the sign for "eat" instead of screaming while you run through all the things your baby might want/need until you finally get to the one s/he's asking for!) YOU become less stressed. Yes, you will be able to know what your baby wants (possibly as early as 6 months old) because they will tell you. You don't need to listen to them cry until you figure out what they want. You will just know. And I promise you, this makes life easier! I cannot promise you, however, that your baby will never cry again ;)
2. Strong Bond. Using Baby Signs with your child increases your bond with one another. Now I am absolutely not saying that if you don't use baby sign language with your baby then you don't have a good relationship, I am, however, saying that the components of baby signs go hand in hand with things that promote good attachment. For example, when signing with your baby you are making eye contact, engaging in back and forth interaction, and being responsive to his/her needs. These are all things that help your baby trust in you and help you grow your relationship. I don't know about you, but my relationship with my baby is the most important thing in the world to me so anything that adds to it is great in my book!
3. Fun Factor. Signing with your baby is fun! Many parents look for new and different things to do with their babies. Using baby signs gives you the opportunity to do that! You can talk about so many thing with your child and you can make up fun songs or games go introduce new signs!
These are the top benefits for mom when introducing baby signs but you may find many more benefits that aren't on this list!
If you're interested in learning more about the Baby Signs® Program, you may contact Haley Addis at email@example.com or visit babysignstoo.com.
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