If you are like me the first time you heard baby sign language you thought what and why? What is it, and Why teach it to my baby she or he isn't deaf and doesn't know anyone deaf? Then I did a little research and heard testimonials from those who taught their children sign language. I realized that for the first 3 years of her life my daughter is going to have difficulty communicating due to the simple limitations of her age. I also discovered that she already new 2 signs, hi and goodbye. So I thought why not give it a try. I bought some inexpensive materials from the local bookstore. After all I wasn't going to waste a fortune if it wasn't going to work. I had a couple DVDs for watching with her and one or two instructional ones. I had some flash cards with pictures on one side and the sign on the other, and a couple of books with ideas. All this came from 2 kits I bought.
I started at 9 months. It was difficult at first for one reason, I had to learn the signs as well. I would constantly forget to do the sign. However, children are like sponges and she picked up on them. The first sign she did was one morning a month after we began I asked her if she would like to take a bath. She did the sign for bath to let me know that her answer was yes. I was overwhelmed with emotion I almost cried. I have never felt so proud of anything. It was amazing. My desire to teach her was ignited. At 15 months she knows around 25 signs and produces on her own around 20. She would know more but like I said I had to learn them to teach her and the birth of her brother and other unrelated set backs have interfered with our progress. I have noticed that the older she is the quicker she picks up and uses new signs.
Let me just say this, Baby Sign Language is a lifesaver. I don't know what we would have done without it. Her being able to communicate her needs and wants has saved us from unpleasant tantrums and frustration. I don't know why it is not more widely used and known about. If you are able to get some program and teach your baby. When she is wants something and doesn't have the ability to say it she can sign it. Which is far better than pointing and you guessing.
Plus the look on her face when she signs something to me is priceless. She is so happy and proud of herself for being able to communicate with me. This is especially true when she is tired or not feeling well. A crying toddler can be frustrating because as a parent you want to make your child happy and take away all their pain. A sign for milk when she's hungry, but tired and screaming lets you know just what she needs. The laugh that then comes out mixed in with what was a cry just melts your heart.