Teaching sign language for kids is a great way to reinforce and nurture communication skills in young children. It is a particularly useful learning activity in helping babies and toddlers in particular to express feelings and emotions without resorting to crying
When using sign language for kids, it is possible to use an abbreviated form of sign language. This easy to understand language is made up some of the most simple signs used to express the most common and basic needs that the age group will come into contact with. Common signs used will express such concepts as “more,” “thank you” and “all gone”
The available evidence seems to suggest that the most benefits of learning sign language for toddlers occur in the first three years of life, however, there seems to be several good reasons to teach toddlers sign language even after this early developmental period. The most significant potential benefits of toddlers learning sign language include:
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, what research has been done contradicts some parent’s fears that using sign language may delay verbal communication. On the contrary, an early introduction to sign language for children may actually give children a means to communicate three to four months earlier than a child relying on their vocal cords. Additionally, introducing sign language to children with developmental delays is thought to be beneficial. There is still much research to be done to investigate whether there is a link to an increase in cognitive, literacy and language abilities.
Teaching kids sign language starts with learning the basic sign language signs. These can be easily picked up by referencing some sign language books or websites.
Some examples of basic sign language symbols are:
Water = rubbing palms together
Drink = thumb to mouth
Afraid = repeatedly patting the chest
Eat = Bringing pinched fingers towards the mouth
Gentle = Patting the back of one hand
It is important to keep the following in mind while introducing sign language to children
A quick internet search will reveal several ways of teaching kids sign language. You will find that most sites will want to charge a fee for you to learn the concepts. As a broad rule of thumb, it is worth using these rules as a guideline.
While teaching sign language, you must remember to keep talking to your child. Spoken language is the key means of communication for all children and sign language should be viewed as a helpful communication aid that could help the child’s development in other areas as well.
Sign language for kids is a wonderful way to give very young children a means of communicating simple emotions and needs. It may also be a means to overcome some frustrations as your child begins to make their first attempts at communication.
Using sign language as a communication tool may also help to strengthen the bonds between you and your child and that is why Jumpstart Childcare see it as such an advantageous addition to their extra activities program.