Friday, 22 November 2013

GUEST POST....... THE IMPORTANCE OF BABY SIGNING FOR YOUNG CHILDREN.



Little Signers Club uniquely focuses on how signing compliments communication development, enhances responsive interactions between small children and carers as well as increase spoken ability, impacting on self esteem and confidence. 

  


You may have come across baby signing before, or you might be trying to find out more about it.  In brief, it is the use of gesture (or sign), in conjunction with speech, to enable young children (up to around the age of 3 years, but sometimes longer) to be able to communicate what they may need or want, to their parents and other carers, before speech begins.

There is a lot to love about using signing with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. At the very least you will have a huge amount of fun but if you are consistent, the results of using signing are incredible - calm, confident children who generally have better language acquisition at an earlier age.  As a bonus you’ll be supporting EYFS objectives in the prime area of Communication and Language
    
















At just 6 months old (sometimes younger), a baby's motor skills are sufficiently developed to make simple gestures, enabling them to bridge the communication gap and show their parents, and carers, what they need.  To put this into perspective, at 12-15 months babies will only have around ten words (ICAN) - most of which will be unclear, leading to frustrating periods for toddlers as they try to communicate using their just-developing speech.
Studies have highlighted the detrimental effects of stress - the release of the hormone cortisol - in babies under 36 months; using signing is a simple, but effective, tool that enables your child to let you know that they need or want something before tears and distress set in.

Using signing with children enhances the caregiver role enormously.  It means that as a caregiver, you are always able to be responsive, respectful and meet a child’s most immediate needs.  Children in your care can be confident that they will have their needs attended to and by being reassured of this, over and over again, it allows children to concentrate on higher level learning, facilitating exploration of their world.  Over time, signing allows a child to share their thoughts and interests, much sooner - sometimes many months before - a child would be able to verbalise what was on their mind.  In addition, the use of ‘baby’ signing supports emerging speech and helps carers and parents to distinguish between unclear words.
The benefits of signing do not end when speech begins. As babies become toddlers, there is even more need for signing as frustration really manifests itself at this difficult transition age; signing is particularly beneficial from 12 months onwards as it's been suggested that up to 90% of toddler tantrums are linked to a need to eat, drink, sleep or receive comfort.  These are very easy signs to implement and use at this critical age, restoring calm for everyone and enhancing bonding.

Whilst it’s not quite possible to say that signing is a magic cure all, the use of signing is an incredible preventative, putting a stop to toddler frustration and upset very effectively. Signing makes the guesswork disappear and as an added benefit, everyone in a setting is able to join in with the ‘conversation’.  

Best of all it can be put into place so easily and very quickly.

Get started with simple signing for your setting today!

1.   Download your FREE baby signing e-book at www.littlesignersclub.co.uk/baby-signing-ebook.htm

     2.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with signing lots when you start!  Begin with a few simple signs that    are relevant to you, the children you care for and your setting and do them regularly.  It’s              easier to remember and concentrate on 6 or 10 rather than dozens of signs. Start with the          signs in the free e-book as they meet basic needs.

      3.  SAY the word as you sign it

4.  SIGN so that you are in a child’s line of vision

 5.  REPEAT lots and lots!

      6.  Join us over at Facebook (www.facebook.com/littlesignersclub )for seasonal / topical signs and videos

 7.  If you would like to know more, Little Signers Club provides children’s classes for groups of Early Years professionals and Twilight Training opportunities too. Email info@littlesignersclub.co.uk for more information. 



"Who wouldn't want their child to be the first amongst their peers to be communicating, to be the most chilled out, to be happier, to have a real head-start?" Ben, baby signing Daddy to Fin

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