Monday, June 7th, 2010
Everyone I know who’s taught signing to their children raves about it. Even babies pick up the signs more quickly than you’d expect, they say; it dramatically reduces your child’s frustration when she can’t yet verbalize what she wants; it eventually expands vocabulary. I believed it all, but I’ll be totally honest—I thought it would be too time-consuming. Last winter, a good friend gave me a gift of these DVDs, telling me that even her school-age kids got into them. I was grateful, and yet I let them sit unopened for a looong time. In the meantime, I’d encountered even more reasons to give signing a try. One was a passionate discussion with one of Parents‘ Advisors, Dr. Jenn Berman, who recently visited our offices. She mentioned that she taught her twin toddlers signing at an early age, and couldn’t say enough about how much easier it’s made their lives. But the kicker for me was last month, during a Little Gym class with my 21-month-old, Lila. The week after the instructor taught the kids the sign for “bubbles”—and with no reinforcement from me for the next seven days—Lila signed it correctly when the teacher said it was time for bubbles. So I went straight home and popped in “Look Who’s Signing.” Lila sat still and genuinely enjoyed watching the first 30-minute DVD (there are two, dividing the alphabet in half), which was impressive enough, but she’s since been clearly trying to sign a few words. (Meanwhile, after one viewing, my 4-year-old could sign close to 10 words, and she’s up to 20+ signs now.) Obviously, for my girls to get the most out of learning to sign, I’ll need to do more than park them in front of the TV, but I’ve got the motivation now. I’d love to know what you’ve done with your children.
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