Finding the right child-care setting for your baby is a big choice. When you sign your child up for a program that includes learning baby sign language, you’re giving your child the chance to communicate before they have the ability to do so verbally. At the same time, baby sign language can help your child develop their language skills overall.

What Is Baby Sign Language?

Woman sitting on the ground next to her baby.

Image by Katie Emslie is licensed with Unsplash License 

Baby sign language is a system of hand and body gestures used to help babies communicate with those around them before they gain the skills to express themselves verbally. This gives little ones a way to convey their needs and wants before they learn how to speak. Baby sign language offers an effective way to help a nonverbal young child to communicate without words, which helps you understand what they need.

The end result is more seamless communication between the child and the adults around them. Babies and adults then have smoother interactions, which in turn leads to less frustration on both sides. Baby sign language can boost a baby’s communication confidence and motivate them to keep communicating through signs, then a mix of signs and verbal expression, and finally through spoken words.

Baby sign language isn’t necessarily the same thing as American Sign Language, or ASL, which is a complete language that includes a complex system of grammar and rules for word order. Baby sign language is more general and involves using gestures and signs to communicate with a baby. However, some parents and programs, such as the infant care program at Crème de la Crème, use signs from ASL to help parents, caregivers, and teachers communicate with babies.

What Are the Benefits of a Baby Sign Language Program?

Baby sign language offers a range of benefits. Baby sign language can:

  • Develop cognitive structures.
  • Increase social interaction.
  • Provide visual stimulation for speech and language development.
  • Provide emotional, academic, and social support for language development.
  • Reduce negative social behaviors.

These benefits arise from giving babies a way to share what they need before they can express these ideas in words. Most children can reap the benefits of baby sign language, but it’s also particularly helpful for kids who begin talking a bit later than their peers. Children who find communication frustrating often display the frustration of not being understood through behavioral issues, such as crying, hitting, screaming, or throwing tantrums.

In fact, research shows that language delays are a risk factor for behavioral problems in young children. Baby sign language can help to reduce some of that frustration by offering children a way to express themselves. This can be used alongside professional support from a doctor, licensed speech-language pathologist, and/or audiologist.

All in all, baby sign language can play an important role in helping your baby communicate and interact with those around them. Some parents, however, question if learning sign language may slow down their baby’s verbal development. In fact, the opposite is the case. Giving your child a way to communicate early on can actually stimulate your child’s desire to learn other communication techniques, such as speaking. Baby sign language provides babies with an effective way to engage with the people around them, so youngsters get even more out of their social experiences.

What Are the Advantages of Learning Sign Language Alongside Your Baby?

It’s not just your baby who benefits from learning baby sign language. As a parent or caregiver, you’ll reap the benefits as well. Signing with your child translates to spending more time talking with them. By speaking to your child, you’re providing invaluable lessons in learning how to communicate.

It bears repeating: Teaching your child to use signs can help them express their emotions and needs before they have the ability to speak. Your baby will have a way to tell you they’re hungry or that they want more of something. Increased communication can even strengthen your bond with your child.

You can start signing with your child soon after they’re born. However, remember that babies often can’t sign back until they’re about 6 months old. Furthermore, all babies develop differently, so don’t worry if it takes time for your child to understand signs and then sign back to you.

To get started signing with your child, you can:

  • Use simple signs every day: Use basic signs during everyday experiences, saying words out loud slowly and clearly as you make the signs. Words for objects are often an easy place to start since you can show your child exactly what the sign means.
  • Use signs consistently: When you’re talking to your baby, make sure you consistently use signs. After a few months of consistent signing, your baby might begin returning the signs. Again, don’t get discouraged if your baby doesn’t immediately start signing, as this can take time with some children.
  • Increase exposure to signs: Sign with your child frequently, and ask their other caregivers to use signs as well because the more exposure a child gets to baby sign language, the more likely they are to start to sign themselves. That’s why enrolling your child in a daycare with a program that uses baby sign language, such as at Crème de la Crème, is such a great idea.

How Can Crème de la Crème Give Your Baby Language Skills?

Crème de la Crème’s infant care program draws on curriculum elements that help foster your child’s communication skills through a baby sign language program. At Crème de la Crème, babies learn signs for simple words, such as help, eat, and drink. As a result, babies and toddlers gain the ability to communicate before they develop verbal language skills.

The team at Crème de la Crème teaches infants and parents ASL. Our program promotes speech development and communication during the first year of your child’s life. This reduces communication frustrations for both you and your child, all while laying the foundation for successful and engaged communication for years to come.

Ready to sign your child up for child care with Crème de la Crème so they can learn baby sign language? Contact us today to find your local Crème de la Crème learning center.