I take Jake to a number of baby groups and classes but the only one I choose to pay for is baby signing. The others that I go to are all run by the local children’s centres (can’t speak highly enough of them!) so are all free.
If I’m honest I didn’t know much about baby signing before I went and I wasn’t particularly interested in it as a concept as I did think it was a bit “hippy ish”. The reason I joined was because a lady I knew from a previous job had just become an instructor and was setting up a new class, so I felt a bit more confident going to something new with Jake when I already new a friendly face (a purely selfish reason but it gave me a bot more confidence in the early days!)
We’re now in our second tern at baby signing and I’m so glad I went and am a total convert to the benefits of babies learning simple sign language.
If you’re not to aware of the concept behind baby signing the general theory is that babies can understand you and are capable of communicating back to you long before they can actually talk. Teaching the baby simple sign language for certain important words (mummy / daddy/ milk / food etc.) allows them to communicate effectively with you and prevents a lot of frustration on both sides.
Now that I’ve been going to the class I can testify that it does work (not for us yet, but I’ll get on to that). Jake has two older cousins who have both recently turned two. Both of them are talking but still have a limited vocabulary to a handful of words and get frustrated when they are not understood. From my experience the children who regularly attend baby signing all performed their first signs around the 11 months / 1 year age and their range of “vocabulary” in terms of signs they can do is on a par with what the two years old I know can do. To me this means that it helps bring your child’s communication on a year or so before they would be able to “talk” the same words.
The children at the class I go to are able to do the signs for thank you / mummy / daddy/home/dog /hello / milk / food and hot The oldest child currently being 13 months – personally I think that’s really impressive!
I must point out that this is just my own experience and I’m not sure what the official baby signing people say is achievable etc. – this is just my own experience and deductions.
Jake and I are now in our second term at baby signing and as he is only 7 and a half months old I’m not expecting to start signing anything back to me for a while yet. What I am certain of is that he is taking it all in and when he is ready he will be able to communicate back to me. As long as we regularly keep going to the class and doing the signs at home too.
The classes we go to are run in a simple fun way predominantly around singing nursery rhymes and songs that include the specific signs you are trying to teach that week. followed by some free play time for the babies and mummies to socialise and have a cup of tea and a biscuit. I’ve met some lovely mums and babies going to the baby signing classes and would highly recommend them to people simply as a fun and social thing to do with your child that also has the added benefit of helping them communicate in their pre talking years.
For reference the classes we go to are run by Tiny Talk and cost £65 for a 12 week term.