Toddler Signing still helps after baby can talk

by Anna Estep
(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

I've been signing with my son since he was 8 mos. old. He's 21 months now and I still sign with him so he doesn't forget anything.

He has learned over 20 signs, and has a vocabulary of almost 200 words--in two languages.

My son is bilingual in English and Portuguese. Just one more story that goes to show that signing doesn't hinder language acquisition, it only helps!

This story demonstrates how signing can help a baby communicate even after he/she has started to talk.

My son was recently pointing to a picture in a storybook, a little girl holding a teddy bear. He kept pointing to the bear and saying "eep, eep".

I could see that he was getting frustrated but I told him that I didn't understand what he was saying. Right away he made the baby sign for sleep and then I finally understood. (duh!) No frustration, no tears--thanks to being able to sign.

I also believe that signing helps my son with learning two languages. One of his first signs was "more". At 10 mos, while I always said "More", his father and grandparents always said "Mais", but we all made the same sign.

At 11 mos. he started to make the same sign for everyone whenever he wanted more of something. Now at 21 mos. he knows to say "more" to me and "mais" to his father and grandparents.

I'm so happy that I had the patience to stick with it until that wonderful first sign. (It always appears when you're just about to give up!)

I was worried that I wouldn't have enough time to teach signing to my baby being that I work full time, but that hasn't been the case at all.

Baby signing has provided me (and continues to provide me) with an amazing, enriching, fulfilling and unforgettable experience with my son.

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