Lots of times I met parents that say "oh, my child is older so we don't need to sign". While it's true that you don't need to sign with a child that is verbal, I still think it is a great idea. I still continue to sign with my 3 and a half year old daughter for several reasons. Here are just a few...
Number 1: It's fun!
We have a great time signing with each other. I love watching my daughter figure out the sentence I have signed. You can literally see that she is trying to figure out this "puzzle" I have given her.
Number 2: Builds self-esteem!
My daughter feels and displays great pride in figuring out the "puzzle" I have given her. I can see that she feels a sense of accomplishment when she has determined what it is that I am communicating.
Number 3: Continues to bond us as a family.
We have a "secret" language! How cool is that??
Number 4: Eliminates embarrassment.
I am able to sign to my daughter reminders like "please", "thank you", "stop", "no", "potty", "are you ok?". I cannot stress how much this has helped our relationship! My partner often forgets to sign these things and I have seen the results! When she is embarrassed, we are more likely to have a meltdown on our hands. Signing really does help to eliminate tantrums!!
Number 5: Promotes Literacy.
At 3 and a half, we are starting to fingerspell and sound out words! We incorporate signing into all of our homeschooling activities. When we read, when we practice writing, counting, etc. Providing your preschooler with multiple intelligences (visual, written, spoken, etc) really gives your child an advantage in learning!
Number 6: A Second Language.
ASL is a formally recognized second language! It is the 4th most used language in North America!
Before I became a baby signing instructor, I used to be an ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor. I often joke with people that English is my daughter's second language as her first language was ASL!!
Keep Signing! The benefits are endless :)