Monday, January 21, 2008

Baby Signs and Z

The Baby Signs (R) Program has been a big part of our lives for the past year. Z knows over 60 signs (as well as a lot of words) and is able to easily communicate his needs and thoughts with us. I first heard about the program from my good friend S. I was amazed to see her co-workers 2 year old daughter communicate with both signs and words. At the time she had 200 signs and the communication between her and her mother was flawless. My friend S then started signing with her son when he was born and I knew it was something I wanted to do when I had Z.

I bought the book Baby Signs by Dr. Linda Acredelo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn and read it while I was pregnant. I then started signing with Z when he was 4 months old. This was not only to expose him to the signs but to get myself and my husband in the habit of signing. We started out slowly with mealtime signs, added bedtime and before you know it Z was signing back! He did his first sign at 7 months old with my sister in-law and mother in-law present. He looked up at our bathroom light and signed "light". It was AWESOME! From there he took off....he learned more, all done, milk, fan, hat, dog etc.

I will never forget the night when Z signed love and looked up at my husband. It was incredible and melted both of our hearts! Here was our 10 month old telling us that he loved us!!!! It was such a special moment and one that made all of the work we had put into signing worth it.

I highly recommend the Baby Signs (R) program to any family with children under 2. It makes such a difference in the day to day challenges when you have a child who can ask for specific things or let you know when something is wrong. The signs that I wanted Z to learn the most were the safety signs. He is now very good at signing help, hurt, hot and gentle :)

My advice if you are just starting out is to either buy the Baby Signs (R) book or buy the Complete Starter Kit. Both will help any family to get started with their baby signing journey. The starter kit includes a parent guide, four cute board books, a child DVD with 6 signs (my son loves the DVDs) and a parent DVD with a video glossary of 100 signs and an overview of the program. Another great place to learn more is the Baby Signs (R) website.

My other piece of advice is to start slow! Pick a few signs to start and make sure to use them in your daily routines. Please know that the younger your baby, the longer it will take for them to sign back. Children don't typically start signing until 8-12 months. So be patient and make it is so worth it!!!!

Happy Signing!


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