By Baby Blogger Kate Richards
For the past few months, Ben and I have been going once a week to Sing and Sign classes, in an attempt to communicate before he starts talking.
It's good fun actually, which is fortunate as he's yet to copy any of the signs. This could be due to the fact I keep forgetting to use them at home!
Sing and Sign has become really popular since it started 2001, and now has classes across the country. It works (in theory) because babies naturally use some gestures such as waving and shaking their heads, so sign language builds on this instinct. The first recommended signs are eat, drink, milk, more, and all gone.
Parents learn the signs through a series of nursery rhymes and action songs which are repeated at each lesson, with a new theme each week such as going to the park, feeling poorly or bedtime. Surprisingly, you don't feel silly joining in, and some of the mums look like they're having a great time (probably just glad to be out of the house!)
Ben's favourite part is when the free-for-all toybox appears at the end, although he's recently got quite proficient at shaking rattles. If he does get the hang of some signs, then in theory it will be easier for me to understand what he wants, reducing potential frustration for both of us.
There is some debate over whether sign language can delay spoken language. The consensus seems to be that it might do, but when the baby does start talking, they often progress faster. In any case I believe it's good for him to have the extra stimulation.
We watch the dvd of the songs quite often at home. He sits still and concentrates so hard that it's a good fall-back technique allowing me to spoon in his porridge in the morning!