How to introduce sign language to young children ?

How to introduce sign language to young children ?

Apr 01, 2022

Sign language continues to be a significant part of language to the deaf community. The American Sign Language (ASL) is considered a language by itself, just like English or Spanish. Whether it is one of the parents of the child that is deaf, sign language is a reliable means of communication.

The good news is that children must not wait to be older before they begin learning sign language. The earlier they master it, the better. Besides, even though a child is not deaf, it adds value to their lives to know sign language, as they are considered bilingual.

Understanding the Mentality of Kids as They Grow

Kids start to pick up the language through conversations with their parents. It means that language development for babies happens through hearing and seeing, then imitating what they have experienced.

Experts claim that as soon as a child in four months, they should pick up language sounds from noises if they are not hearing impaired. Since sign language is different, experts suggest that it may take a few more months for kids to master signs.

At about 6 or 7 months, your child should begin to remember signs, particularly the most repeated ones. Expect your child to start signing simple words at about eight months. However, how consistently you teach them will influence the learning process. The first learning means for children is through imitation of gestures. The frequency and repetition of those gestures will make it easy for children to remember.

In that case, if you are not fluent in sign language, you need to take your child to daycare in 77433, where educators can help your child learn. The good news is that many preschools like Lycee Montessori School now teach sign language. As such, by 24 months, your child should begin signing compound words and sentences.

The Techniques to Introduce Sign Language to Children

Some parents take signing more seriously than others, particularly if the child is hearing impaired. If you want your child to learn sign language as quickly as possible, enrolling them in a preschool where the language is taught is the best place to start. This way, your child can learn the language correctly as is taught in the educational system.

However, some techniques can help you introduce your child to sign language at home, including the following:

  1. Start small – do not overwhelm your child with many signs. Start with short sentences and simple words, especially those you regularly use when communicating with your toddler.
  2. Repetition – children will imitate what they see being done frequently. Repeat signs consistently until your child recognizes them as crucial information.
  3. Use speech alongside sign – if your child is not deaf, then you can go ahead and use spoken words as you sign. For example, when your child needs a bottle, say ‘milk’ as you sign it. It helps them identify words and signs that mean the same thing, which speeds up the learning process.
  4. Be consistent – your child will not mimic the signs immediately. It will take time for them to identify it as a crucial part of the communication process. Your responsibility is to remain consistent with the signing until your child learns it.

Benefits of Sign Language for Children

Out of all the languages, sign language should be a priority for children. It can benefit your child in many ways, including the following:

  1. It is a means of communication for the hearing impaired.
  2. It improves communication for children, especially when they have a difficult time expressing their emotions with words. Sign language works very well for children who are yet to start talking.
  3. It is a different language altogether, which means that your child can be bilingual.
  4. It reinforces learning for educational concepts that are crucial to the foundation of your child’s academic life.
  5. It improved attentiveness since the child needs to be keen on signs to respond accordingly.
  6. It increases parent-child bonding if the parent plays an active role in teaching sign language.

It develops reasoning skills as the language dictates understanding emotions and experiences to convey them appropriately through signing.

Click to listen highlighted text!