SIGNING WITH BABY
Sorting out the real from the fake
Being a parent also means playing a guessing game: you learn to recognise your child's cries and gestures, but you sometimes find yourself changing an empty nappy when he or she is tired, or feeding your child when he or she is just hot... To avoid this game of riddles, which can be frustrating for everyone, more and more parents are associating signs with their words. 👋🏼
What is gestural communication combined with speech? 🗣 🙌🏼
What are the benefits of using sign with your child?
- To express his/ her needs, to communicate his/ her emotions and therefore reduce frustration, by allowing your child to make himself understood even before mastering speech.
- Increasing the possibilities for relationship building between your baby and those around him.
- To train your child's fine motor skills and to stimulate visual memory
FACT OR FICTION related to using signs
•To practice it, I have to learn sign language: FALSE ❌
French Sign Language is an independent and distinct language, structured and complex, with its own grammar and syntax. To sign with baby, all the words in your sentences are not signed; you only use a few signs, while speaking.
"Les signes accompagnent les mots de la phrase, mais ne les remplacent pas. "
• My child is at risk of having delayed speech if I use sign: FALSE ❌
This is the most common misconception, but the reality is quite the opposite: the use of signs, in addition to voice, does not take precedence over the acquisition and development of speech. Your baby will start to speak at around 2-3 years of age, but before that, signs will allow him to communicate and be understood in other ways. Your child will probably even be more 'communicative' when he or she starts to talk, as the exchange of signs introduces him or her to interaction and attentiveness much earlier..
" Le cerveau de votre enfant entendant est fait pour s'intéresser au développement du langage oral.
Encore mieux: signer avec votre bébé stimule la zone de son cerveau dédiée à la parole. "
• My child will be more comfortable communicating even later: TRUE ✅
The moment of exchange using signs (always associated with words) is part of a benevolent communication approach: signing invites you to settle down, to take the time, to look your child in the eyes, to position yourself in front of him/her and to dedicate yourself to your exchange with him/her. By mimicry, your child will also be more at ease in future exchanges.
A child who signs early also tends to enjoy words more, to distinguish and welcome his emotions better (because he/ she can express them). Signing thus allows for a calmer expression of his/ her needs, while waiting for them to give way to words.
" Quand les mots ne sortent pas, sous le coup d'une émotion intense et même quand la parole est maîtrisée, les signes peuvent aider et éviter une frustration."
• I can start signing at an early age: TRUE ✅
An infant imitates gestures before imitating sounds. It is not until about 18 months that they say their first words, but by 8-10 months they are developing their fine motor skills and beginning to make their first intentional gestures. You can start as early as 6 months. This is also the age when your child's brain is able to retain things.
" Certaines mamans commencent même dès les premiers mois et ça n'est pas inutile: le de l'enfant est initié aux signes et l'échange engage une relation forte avec lui. "
PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE - Marie's tips
• Signing daily, not necessarily in many words 🗣
• What do we start with? 2-3 signs of day-to-day/ common actions, which we do every day. ⏰
Example: changing diapers, bathing, eating, bottle feeding, going to sleep
• Try to spot what most often causes frustration in the child and start by signing the associated words🙌🏼
• You sign with either hand. It's okay if you are the only one signing at home, even without continuing to sign outside the house. 🍃
• Point as much as possible with your finger at what you are saying (to link the sign to the image and the word) 👉🏼
•Use the sign on yourself or on him/her, depending on who is experiencing the emotion or action. E.g. when you are tired (tired sign), when you are in pain somewhere (pain sign), when the child has finished his/her activity (“finished”). 🙊
• The signs will not be perfect from the start, but a repetition of similar movements will give you a good idea. 👂🏼
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Bibliographie Marie Cao : https://www.marabout.com/marie-cao