We have been teaching our kids sign language since William was one year old. William did very well with it. Jenna hated it and hardly did any. Pepper Michelle loves it and is signing more than the other two ever did. This past Christmas, with all the family suppers, people started to really notice Pep’s signing. She uses it very often and people were really amazed!
Maybe you are thinking about teaching your child sign language but aren’t sure if it’s all it’s hyped up to be. Maybe you have some concerns about how it will affect your child in the long run. I think we should start by talking about some popular myths about Baby Sign Language. I am not talking scientifically or psychological or anything like that. I am giving my opinions based on my experience.
Myth # 1
“Sign language will delay speech.” I have heard this soooo many times. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that it will delay my child’s speech. If you have ever met my son you know this is certainly not true. He was talking full sentences before he was 18 months old…and he really hasn’t stopped yet. Sign language helps a child learn how to communicate with “words” instead of just yelling or pointing.
“Baby sign language is just a fad.” I admit it is becoming much more popular in the past 10 years but it has always been around. How many of you have met a 9 month old who could wave hello or goodbye? Sign language. Have you ever seen a child blow a kiss to someone they love? Sign language.
“I don’t have the time.” I really hope you haven’t said this to yourself at all while reading this post. It is one of my most hated phrases. If you have time to talk to your child, you have time to teach him sign language. If you have time to feed your child, you have time to teach him sign language. You have the time.
“It’s expecting too much of a baby.” Babies are seriously smart. I don’t really have to elaborate on that because I know everyone must agree. Or at least, I hope you agree. If it is taught consistently, sign language is very easy for a child to pick up. I think that this is used as a cop-out for parents who think it’s too much for them, not their child.
“Every child should be taught sign language.” Although we did teach all our kids sign language, Jennifer didn’t like it and never learned more than the 4 basic words. That’s okay. By then she was speaking anyway and no longer needed signs. Pepper, on the other hand, loves it and can sign over 10 signs (14 months old). I am in no way at all trying to say that you need to teach your kids sign language to be a good parent. It’s not for everyone and that’s okay.
BUT if you are interested and want to try, think about these myths. Which ones do you struggle with? Are you wondering what the benefits are? Good! The Benefits of Baby Sign Language is the next post in the line up!