Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sunday June 22, 2014 ""

Having flipped through almost every pregnancy related book the Thunder Bay Public Library had to offer (see Library Detective article What to read when you are expecting, Chronicle Journal June 30th, 2013) it was inevitable that when our little one was nearing the six month mark I would begin to research signing with babies. The idea was very appealing to my husband and myself, being able to communicate with our baby before verbal communication was possible; however the thought of learning signs as well as teaching a baby while only sleeping in intervals of two hours (at best!) seemed rather daunting.

We jumped right in, starting with the signs that are most common, “milk”, “more” and “eat”.   We were amazed that we were able to incorporate the signs into our everyday conversation as well as how well the baby picked up on the signs, understanding them first and then signing back to us. These are just a few of the books that took up residence on our dining room table and helped to open the doors of communication.

Babies Can Talk by Marilyn Daniels, PhD, Georgie Frawley, MA, and Ken Frawley. This book was great for explaining why and how signing works with babies. The book includes hints and tips for successful signing as well as real success stories. My favourite part was the chapter on signing with songs and rhymes, which had pictures of how to sign familiar songs and rhymes such as Hush Little Baby, Five Little Fingers and To Market, to Market.

The Baby Signing Book by Sara Bingham contains so much information on developmental milestones and how to work with your baby to build a strong foundation for communication. A “Your Sign Dictionary” is included to help parents keep track of signs they are working on, have mastered and what they hope to work on in the future. Tips and games accompany simple illustrations and a very detailed, yet easy to understand program for beginning to sign with your baby.

Our favourite book was Baby Sign Language Basics by Monta Z. Briant. This was a great little book with an extensive dictionary, displaying only one sign per page and using an actual photograph compared to many books which only used illustrations. However, the best feature of this book was its small size, perfect for being stashed in our diaper bag.

Although we do not sign as frequently as we have in the past there are times when we cannot communicate verbally (while watching a library puppet show for instance) and we find ourselves signing as second nature. As someone who was skeptical at first, I am very glad we stuck with it and worked through the difficult beginning weeks. If you’ve ever thought about signing with your baby give it a try, you’ll probably have more fun than you expected. Happy signing!

Chelsea Cernjul-Marsonet

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