Fathers Bonding With Baby Sign Language

by Roz Jutras (The Signing Mom)
(Saskatoon, SK, Canada)

The majority of the workshops and classes that I have taught are attended mostly by mothers (and their babies, of course).

There are a few times that fathers will attend the classes, if they have a day off or are able to get out of work for the hour.

Since most families have the mother take the full parental leave, they are usually the ones who get more involved in parent-baby activities during babies first year of life.

It is difficult for dads to share these same experiences since most of the baby classes are difficult to emulate at home (ie. equipment, space).

However, sign language is something that fathers can share with their little ones that does not require any special surroundings or equipment - just dad, baby and pair of hands.

One of the main benefits of teaching your baby sign language is to improve communication between baby and parent.

Since babies do not have the oral motor skills to communicate vocally, they can use their hands to express their needs and feelings.

Since statistically more fathers are working during the first year of baby's life, he can use sign language to establish a bond when they are together.

In addition, baby will not feel frustrated because he/she will be able to communicate effectively with each parent.

A fun activity for father's to incorporate signing with their baby is Peekaboo. Sit with your baby facing you.

Have a blanket near by that you will use to hide under. Say and sign to your baby, "WHERE is DADDY?" Hide under the blanket and repeat "Where is daddy?" Then take the blanket off and sign and say, "HERE is DADDY". This is a great game to teach your baby the sign for DADDY but it also teaches the concept of object permanence that people and objects still exist even when you can't seem them.

Some other enjoyable activities to incorporate signing are hide-and-seek, reading books, and singalongs.

Sign language can bring so much to a family in terms of connection and bonding. Sign language is also a fun and easy language to learn (also the fourth most used language in the world).

Father's can feel just as involved with their little ones when they find ways to make signing a great family past time.

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