27 January 2010
I've already written about my experience with baby sign-language, but that was when my first child was just under two. We've now got a second child who is almost two who has taken very differently to baby sign-language. So this now gives a contrast between how different children sometimes take to baby sign-language more than others.
When we first started baby sign-language was still quite new to the UK, but it's now quite well known so I'm not going to explain what baby sign-language is. If you haven't heard of it before, or want to know more of the theory behind why baby sign language can be useful see: Baby Sign language (based on Makaton / BSL).
Our daughter took to baby sign-language really well. It took only a few months before she could say several food related words. By the time she learnt to talk she already had a selection of words in her vocabulary which she just had to add her own voice to.
Our son is not quite so keen to learn baby sign-language. He has learnt a few words, but not as many as our daughter did. He's now starting to talk so it's unlikely he's going to learn to sign many more words.
We started to teach our son at a younger age and because we were more confident with baby sign language, so it should have been easier to teach to our son. The fact that he didn't shows that it can be down to the individual baby how well they learn it.
Despite this he's still learnt a few signs, his most popular being "more".
Was it worthwhile?
So the question is do we think it was worthwhile teach baby sign-language, for which I'd say a resounding yes. Although our main aim was to help communicate with our son the act of teaching the signs is great parent to child interaction and is worthwhile for that alone.
We learnt baby sign-language by watching a DVD and reading books, but there are more baby sign language courses around now. Classes provide an opportunity to learn with other parents and babies.