Using Baby Sign Language in a two-language household
Is Baby Sign Language confusing for bilingual babies? If you’re already using a few languages in your house won’t signing just complicate things even more??
I get asked this question A LOT and I totally get it. Parents want to make things easier for their little ones, not harder. Easy communication can make home life oh so sweet and knowing what your baby actually wants can be life-changing.
Baby Signing actually HELPS your baby make the connection between the two spoken languages which speeds up the learning process. For example: if you say the word ‘house’ – you know, that place where you live. A bilingual baby who speaks French & English at home, will need to learn that ‘house’ and also ‘maison’ have the same meaning and then make the connection between the two.
Sign Language can help make this much easier. When you say “house” in English while signing “house” in Sign Language, and then say “maison” in French while signing “house” in Sign Language, you are showing your baby that they mean the same thing, and ultimately speeding up the learning process.
So much of Baby (and Mama’s) life revolves around food in the first few years. When baby is strapped in their high-chair and you (finally) have two hands-free, it is a great time to sign! When you are introducing solids they are also learning lots of new concepts; more, full, all-done, yes, no, etc. so having signs to go along with learning these new concepts is so useful and can make the process even more fun!
Baby will sign ‘Eat’ when;
asked if she is hungry (in French or English)
asked if she wants breakfast (in French or English)
asked if she wants lunch (in French or English)
asked if she wants supper (in French or English)
This one simple sign, ‘EAT’ allows parents to really know what they are learning in both languages and how their vocabulary and comprehension is developing – all before they have spoken her first word! It really is amazing!
If you then introduce another ‘eat’ word like ‘snack’ and Baby does the eat sign, then you can quickly get confirmation that that is another word that she understands so it can help to show you how much they are picking up in another language.
If you are introducing a second language and sign language early on, baby’s wonderful little brain will soak it up like a sponge! Early exposure to Baby Sign to develop their language and reasoning skills. While others are still crying to get what they want, signing babies are learning how to communicate with words and simple phrases. Which, studies reveal, show long-term cognitive benefits, including increased IQ points.
Baby sign language is a fun and fabulous tool to enhance communication in your bilingual home. It can help link ideas in Baby's mind and make communication easy and fun!
To find out more about Baby Sign Language and where you can join a class with Mellow Baby please visit Mellow Baby's booking page.