Guest Blog from Sarah at TinyTalk
Ever wondered what your baby is trying to tell you?
With TinyTalk baby signing classes you can empower your baby to be understood. They have so much to say but are unable to get their message out verbally. Bond with your baby as she/he shares their world with you, replace frustration with communication, meet other parents and make new friends.
Baby sign language enables babies as young as 6 months old to communicate their needs, reducing frustration and their need to cry, you will never again feel helpless trying to guess what your baby wants. Research published in the journal Child Development confirms that baby signing facilitates pre-verbal communication between babies and their carer’s. Baby signing has also been found to enhance maternal responsiveness to their babies, which is linked to cognitive and social development. (1.) Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire and Istanbul Bilgi University have found that the infants in their study “…acquire[d] the gestures and used them to communicate … long before the onset of speech”.
The aim of baby signing is to help parents and babies communicate before they are technically able to speak. Babies understand far more than they can express up to the age of about two years, and signing helps them communicate their needs and preferences during this time, preventing frustration and enhancing bonding.
Early spoken skills can be encouraged through modelling and then supporting clear lip patterns and speech sounds, both of which are taught at TinyTalk classes, with families following-up and practising at home.
TinyTalk classes are full of fun nursery rhymes, action songs, musical instruments and sensory activities. Our parents are learning a new skill and deepening their bond with their baby, while babies are being taught how to sign so that they can communicate before they can speak.
Many people find being new parents very isolating. Having been used to working in a social environment, they’re now at home, without much adult interaction. 25% of new mothers find the experience very challenging and isolating. Postnatal depression can also have a very detrimental effect on the life experiences and development of young children. However, (2.) studies show that attending a weekly class with your baby can make you feel better! Unlike other classes parents at TinyTalk aren’t rushed out the door once the class is finished. We make time at the end of each session for a drink and a chat giving parents who feel isolated the opportunity to meet other parents and share experiences. Babies that are able to sign and make themselves understood are very happy little ones. TinyTalk classes can make a difference to the happiness levels of both parents and babies!
My name is Sarah I am a TinyTalk teacher and I run classes in Maidenhead. I have twin boys and started signing with them when they were 7 months old. I was blown away with how quickly they began to communicate through sign and one of my boys was signing sentences before he could speak! He later replaced signs with words until he was fully verbal, he still enjoys signing and it definitely comes in handy if I need to discreetly ask if he needs a trip to the loo!
We started to see some delays in his brother, who at 3 years old was eventually diagnosed with a rare brain condition which left him non verbal until he was 4 years old and still unable to walk independently. Signing meant he could communicate with his family, his peers and his care givers. Signing gave him the opportunity to build his vocabulary so that when he was ready to attempt speaking, he had a whole dictionary waiting to be verbalised! Signing with him meant he could tell us if he wanted mummy, daddy or nanny, if he was hungry or thirsty or just wanted a cuddle. He could tell us he loved us. My passion comes from my experience. My strength and determination come from my boys.
You can also join Sarah on a free taster session at the St Mary’s Preschool Summer Fete on Sunday 7th July.
- The research was carried out by Elizabeth Kirk and Neil Howlett (University of Hertfordshire) and Karen J. Pine and Ben C. Fletcher (University of Hertfordshire and Istanbul Bilgi University), and published in the article ‘To Sign or Not to Sign? The Impact of Encouraging Infants to Gesture on Infant Language and Maternal Mind-Mindedness’ in the journal Child Development, 2012, pp1-17).
- Cambridge Core, Cambridge University – ‘The Effect of Singing Interventions on Symptoms of Postnatal Depression’: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/effect-of-singing-interventions-on-symptoms-of-postnatal-depression-threearm-randomised-controlled-trial/534122E539704BAEAC0824F9FCACC5A8/core-reader.
*offer valid until end Dec 2019. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.