Today I went out with a friend and her 18 month old daughter. We got to talking about how beneficial signing was with babies and toddlers. Her experience has been similar to my own and we both agreed that the amazing things that our children do, we credit to learning sign language. In the past few weeks Bronwyn has continued to surprise me with all of her new found knowledge. One day she was looking through my ASL text book and she found the page that showed the manual alphabet. She began singing and signing the alphabet - just from recognizing the hand shapes!! The other day I was changing her diaper and she began to sign and say words that begin with "b" - boat, ball, blanket - I asked her if she was trying to say things that started with "b" and she pronounced the letter phonetically and continued - bubbles, balloon, baby. Today we were looking at alphabet flashcards and she told me what letter was on the card! Absolutely amazing for a child of 18 months!! Now, I am not saying she is clear and concise while doing these things but it will come in time and she has a great foundation for it.
Practice your alphabet
The manual alphabet is a good thing to know for several reasons. Firstly, many signs that you will learn are identified by certain letters in the alphabet, for example, the sign for "water'' is made with the "w" hand shape or the sign for "uncle" is made with the "u" hand shape. If you know your alphabet it will be easier to learn the signs...
Secondly, it is a great thing to teach you toddler. Babies love when actions are put to songs. Your baby will love watching you sing and sign the alphabet. You can also teach your child his/her letters by using the manual alphabet. It is much easier to transfer the manual letters into written letters when they get older. You can also play fun spelling games with them when they are older. You can sign simple words and ask what the words are, for example you can ask, "What does C-A-T spell?" and you give your child a hint by making the sign for cat. Children love games and this is a fun, educational game you can play with him/her. ~ Laura Berg, Founder of My Smart Hands
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At 18 months Bronwyn is talking up a storm. She doesn't seem as keen on signing but I still try to use signs as much as possible. Since she isn't as interested in signing to me, I try to make a fun game out of mommy signing and she tells me the word. Her vocabulary is increasing daily and she loves playing our little game!
I just can't get over how much signing has benefited us as a family. Bronwyn really is smart as a whip. At 18 months she already tries to sign and sing the alphabet - she can sing A through E in order then sings whichever letters she can think of. She is also counting from 1-9 and knows the shapes of stars, squares, triangles, oval, circles and diamonds.
It really is amazing to watch a baby communicate with such ease!