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Teach your child how to expand use of sign language

There’s never too early or too late to learn signing yourself and then teach it to your child.

As a parent, you can begin using simple signs with your babies and toddlers just as they would spoken words. Identifying favourite foods or objects with a single sign is a good way to start. Holding up a stuffed toy like lion and making the sign for ‘lion’, or pointing to Papa while signing ‘father’.

Using signs labelling emotions & feelings is a logical next step. Signing ‘baby sad’ or ‘I’m happy’ can affirm your young child’s perception of what is happening in & around them. It won’t be long before your child is offering up signs of their own to communicate how he is feeling in the moment.

Learning signing is a good way to help your child become multilingual.

Children of preschool age group are actively expanding their receptive skill. They will be able to understand signed communication quite naturally with practice. Finding songs to sing, sign & dance to will help remember signs & provide a great deal of fun.

An older child can serve as a model for a younger brother or sister by identifying familiar objects with sign. Learning to fingerspell, or spell out words using the signed alphabet, can assist your child in learning the alphabet & later in learning to spell. Signing the alphabet while signing letters uses both sides of the brain & maximizes learning. Practicing spelling words by finger-spelling is a fun way to learn spelling.

Older children can also enjoy sign language. Having a secret ‘second’ language to share with others can build friendships. Learning & teaching others how to sign at this age coincides with a child’s developing sense of self as an individual with special skills & talents.

Sign language can also be a fun way to enrich the relationship between you & your child. Incorporating a few key phrases into your everyday family such as ‘Don’t forget to brush’ or ‘I love you’.

This is also a time when your child become more empathetic & increasingly aware of the needs of others. Finding a deaf friend or visiting a club for the deaf can expand your child’s view of the world & can build compassion for others.

In other words, sign language can be an important interpersonal skill.

September 3, 2009 - Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Just Baby, Just Preschooler, Just Toddler, Natural Parenting


  1. i totally agree with your points.miya boleh communicate dgn kids at the park eventho she doesn't speak much. nak pulak anak2 mat salleh tu cakap english. then bila miya sign to them, they sign back. rupanye ramai budak2 tu do signing too.also i realize i understand her better. walaupun mulut dia low vocab & dia bebel entah apa2, but her signs implies differently. so takde la dia marah & frustrated bila dia mintak/say something. then bila i respond to her, mmg nampak happy aje dia.

    Comment by Mama-Miya a.k.a Jedi Hopeful a.k.a Proud Zakiah Khairani | September 3, 2009 | Reply

  2. Yes Mama Miya, me noticed it too with Baby Hambali. When we responded correctly, he did look happy.Eliminate frustration for both.

    Comment by Hanz | September 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hanz, i really admire you for all the things u learn with your children (although now already 2nd baby). with QQ i was very rajin, but now with the twins, i lazy to do anything already (hahaha..lost all excitement)

    Comment by Mummy to QiQi | September 8, 2009 | Reply

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