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What the heck -baby sign language?

OK, so I am at the store today and the lady ahead of me and the clerk were talking about her baby. They were going on and on about how "empowering" baby sign language is. They were discussing the video they have their babies watch to learn it and one was so impressed that other's child signed "Thank you" as their 18 month check up. My kids are 10 and 14, so I know I am out of the loop. But wouldn't it be better to
1. Not plop your infant in front of a video
2. Be excited that they said "Thank you" or "Tank ou" at 18 months like my kids did rather than sign it?

Educate me please!


Asked by wildboyz1994 at 6:20 PM on Aug. 2, 2009 in General Parenting

Level 2 (13 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)
  • Or, on the other hand could have legitimately had a hearing problem or speech delays and it was in fact a huge deal for him to be signing thank you.Speech therapist encourage signs as tools to help with speech. My friends son is 19 months and doesn't speak any words at all. The therapist has been working with them for months and he just started signing 'more' It was a HUGE deal! Every one was so thankful to hear A.J.'s 'voice'
    BTW I never thought you had bad feelings toward the subject. you just sounded curious to me...

    Answer by But_Mommie at 6:41 AM on Aug. 4, 2009

  • I think as a infant it is a great thing for a child to know sign language. I wish I did it with my son. But I do think it is better that they can talk then sign. I do know it makes for a calmer baby but as a toddler I don't think it should be used as much. Talking is more important. That just my opinion.

    Answer by JacobsMommy05 at 6:24 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • When parents talk about teaching their children to sign they aren't just saying put their children in front of the tv and let them learn to sign from a video and just never talk. Teaching a child to sign early on has actually been proven extremely beneficial for children. Also using sign language doesn't replace talking altogether. It takes alot more for a child to learn to sign a word than it does for a child to say the word. I mean think about it.. children hear words and speech everyday, how often do they see people signing unless someone in their family is deaf?

    I wish I would have taught my son to sign. My friend started teaching her son at 6 months old and he's 2 now and can sign AND talk better than most kids at his age.

    Answer by KalebsMommee at 6:35 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • I'm doing baby-sign with my kid. I don't use the videos, actually, cuz my kid hates tv in all forms (except as something to throw toys at). The research on it says that kids who use baby signs are actually more quick to learn new words because they've already been able to make the connection between the sign and the word and the concept in question.

    My kid can't talk, but he can tell me he wants more cheerios without screetching at the top of his lungs while I beg him to tell me what's wrong. He can sign "more" and I know what he wants.

    His spoken words are dada, mama, woof, doggie, hi, bye, this and that (dis? dat? super cute!!) and he's 16 months, so he's just a word or two over average for his age.

    Why is that bad in your opinion?

    Answer by Avarah at 7:17 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • my daughter had problems communitcating with speech due to prematurity, she did everything late, we used sign language to help communicate with her, we didn't use videos we had to go to a class with her (it was for disabled babies/toddlers), it helped us a lot, there was always some rude person who would ask, "is she deaf? if she isn't deaf why are you signing?" sometimes I think other parents should keep there opinions to themselves if they don't know the situation

    Answer by sylvia-ann at 7:32 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • I did baby signs with my kids. We never used a video just common practice. He was signing 'eat' 'more' and 'thank you' by the time he was 8 months old. I knew what he wanted before he could talk! He still had normal verbal development. I think it is awesome to be able to communicate with your baby before they can clearly express themselves in words. It is less frustrating for everyone involved. IMO

    Answer by But_Mommie at 7:34 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • Baby sign or sign in deaf or hearing impaired kids does in no way hinder language development. I am a sign language interpreter and my husband is a teacher of the deaf. What happens in babies is that it's much easier to use the hands than it is to use the mouth. So babies pick up sign much quicker than words. But since the sign is paired with the spoken word, ie you say thank you as you sign thank you, most non-deaf kids drop the signs by the time they reach 2 or 3. The primary benefit is that it cuts down on the frustration for the little ones.  As far as the video's most of the parents who are investing in these are not just plopping the kids down they are watching with them and interacting. 

    It is also fabulously helpful for kids with speech or other learning problems.  My girls had serious speech delays, we had almost no words at age 5.  Signs were the key for us.


    Answer by teamquinn at 7:53 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • I don't know, what they were describing is different that you all are saying. No kidding, the clerk was saying his kid learned to sign from a video and was proud that he could"express" himself at 18 months through signing like this was some big leap in parenting. Parenting has changed so dramatically in the last 10 years and a lot of it is link to money making ventures (like these videos) just wondering- is this an advancement to just learning how to communicate and key in on your kids needs? I knew when my kids wanted more without them screeching, they just pointed to the bowl or picked it up to look underneath for more and I would say- oh do you want more and they would nod. Really-nodding, smiling, laughing, crying when hurt or sick and reaching for things about sums up all the need for communication my kids needed before they could talk.

    Answer by wildboyz1994 at 8:02 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • Oh and for the record, I do not think signing is good or bad- I just really don't get it or see it as this amazing advancement these parents saw it as. In truth, do what you like when it comes to your kids!

    Answer by wildboyz1994 at 8:03 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • We've taught my son a few signs, and it's been very helpful for us. I didn't put him in front of a video to teach him. Since he was about 8 months old, when I would feed him I would stop and, I would say "more" and show him the sign. After a few months my son would say "mo" and do the sign. The signs that we taught him after he was able to start to talk are the signs and words that he picked up much quicker than anything else. Any of the signs that he does, he also says the words at the same time. I think having the sign to go with the words helped him learn to say those words quicker. He talks a lot and has a huge vocabulary for a 21 month old. I think teaching babies sign language can only help them.

    Answer by Sillieguze at 9:07 PM on Aug. 2, 2009