Baby Sign Language: Pros and Cons

1. Introduction

Hey Mumma,

Imagine your baby ‘asking’ you for more food, milk, or even a nap…. well before they’ve said their first word.

Possible? Absolutely!

(But…. it’ll take a lot of work)

Baby sign language is a series of gestures that can help your bub express what he or she needs, and be able to communicate with you. (Here are a few examples to give you an idea)

It’s not meant to replace language, and it’s definitely not for everyone, but many families swear by it.

So! Let's weigh up the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right decision for your family.

Introduction

2. The Good Stuff

Communicate with your baby earlier:

You can start teaching your baby sign language whenever you like, with some babies beginning to sign back from 8 months of age onwards. (A lot sooner than the average age of first words, which is about 12 months)

Learn something new:

In amongst the nappy’s, bottles, and sleep schedules, it can be refreshing to challenge your brain and learn something new.

Ease frustrations and build a bond:

It’s normal for babies and toddlers to show frustration or anger when they’re unable to communicate what they need or want. Baby sign language can ease some of those frustrations for both baby and you, while also creating a beautiful connection between you both.

Helps brain development and language skills:

By learning baby sign language, your little one will be starting to understand language well before they’re physically able to say what’s on their mind.

Research has shown it can also improve cognitive and emotional development and increase the rate of verbal development.

The Good Stuff

3. The Not-So-Good-Stuff

Got a TONNE of patience? You will need it.

Consistency and repetition is key with baby sign language.

It can take a very, very long time for your baby to learn new gestures, and keeping up your efforts consistently, whilst juggling your regular day-to-day tasks can be challenging.

It can be limiting:

Unless your family and friends are onboard with learning baby sign language, at the end of the day, you may be the only one who can communicate in this way with your bub.

Frustration:

While yes, it can ease frustration, baby sign language can cause frustrations as well. Your little one may feel frustrated if they’re having trouble with certain gestures or when other caretakers don’t understand what they’re trying to say.

It’s not a second language:

There are hundreds of signs your baby could learn, but despite this, and the effort & patience you both put in, they won’t be speaking (American/Emirati/Australian) Sign Language, which has a different structure.

The Not-So-Good-Stuff

4. Conclusion

So Mumma, what do you think? Does this sound like something you might try with your baby?

If so, we’d love to hear your experiences and what did and didn’t work for you.

Till next time,

The team at Hera

Conclusion