Baby, what’s your sign (language)?

From the very beginning, I’ve felt The Bee has been one big guessing game. We learned quickly that while most of his cries were about food, nap time or expressing his total hatred for tummy time, there were times where we had absolutely no clue what he desired. And as his crying bordered on hysterical as we shoved towards him almost every toy, blankie and snack in the house, I began to wonder if we’d be forever stuck in this cycle of “Guess Why I’m Crying Now.”  Funny enough, he never cried about his diapers (still doesn’t!).

Anyway, at about 12 months, The Bee still wasn’t very good at communicating with us what he wanted. I don’t remember him pointing or naming something in “his” language to let us know what he was “talking” about. I knew I had to give him a way to more effectively communicate with us while we worked on his vocabulary. I remembered reading somewhere on a mommy forum how some of the moms were turning to sign language to help their kids communicate with them. Perfect!  Except, where would I start?

Fast forward to when The Bee was 14 months (dang, those months go by fast!). I had forgotten completely about trying to improve our communication with each other (we were more focused on his lack of walking). I found myself at a party with a few people I didn’t know. We were all getting to know each other and it turned out that only two of us had kids. So we started chatting and my fellow mommy told me how she was a certified instructor for the Signing Time Academy. Say what? She started telling me about the company and the history behind it. She even had a set of starter DVDs with her that I could buy to try out. Can you say it was a “sign” for me to try it?

Signing Time was developed by Rachel Coleman and her sister Emilie Brown (you can read the amazing story here). Signing Time is based on the American Sign Language, which is great because you learn “real” sign language, not someone’s made up signs. You may have even seen Rachel on various channels doing Signing Time segments!  In addition to the main Signing Time products, they developed a series of DVDs called Baby Signing Time, geared for babies 3-36 months. My first question to my new friend was, “Is The Bee too old to learn?” Nope!  Sweet! I was sold!

The Baby Signing Time videos feature catchy tunes, cartoon characters and a variety of kids (aged 2 and under!) with examples of what sign they are talking about. From the first time we played the videos, the signs were easy to pick up for us (the parents) thanks to the songs. The Bee actually stayed still and focused his attention on the screen (We don’t call him a bee for nothing), even laughing at the antics of baby Leah, baby Alex and baby Hopkins (a frog). The videos of the children signing help you see how the “sign” can be interpreted in each child which was really useful! Each DVD is about 30 minutes long and contains extra features such as the ability to review only the signs taught in the video.

I loved that the first couple of DVDs in the series taught us signs that we could use right away especially “eat,” “drink,” “milk,” and “all done.” These signs helped us communicate much better until he started talking more. It took him about a month to start using the signs. His first one was “All Done!” Before that, his signal to us was when he started stacking food on his tray and knocking the pieces down onto the ground. I’m sure you can appreciate my relief when he learned “All Done.” I know my floor is cleaner!

You do have to learn to use the signs as much as you can though to reinforce the use of the signs. He did not pick up every sign though, but that was because he doesn’t come across some of the words on a daily basis (like airplane or juice). But, I will say that there are some words that he can sign well that he doesn’t say and vice versa. The full set of 4 DVDs in the Baby Signing Time collection has more than enough words to get you to communicate well with your child through signing. I can’t wait to start exploring the rest of the Signing Time series!

And no, he hasn’t learned the sign for “diaper.”

The Baby Sign Language Starter Kit is on sale for $49.99. It comes with the best-selling book from Dr. Jill Stamm “Bright From the Start”, Baby Signing Time Vol. 1 DVD, Baby Signing Time Vol. 1 Flashcards and Baby Signing Time Vol. 1 Music CD.  They also offer all kind of different Collections, as well as, the option to just buy the individual DVDs for $21.99.

For more information on Baby Signing Time visit their website HERE.

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