Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In Honor of My New Grand-Nephews


and Spenser

who were born yesterday, I'd like to offer this guest post on sign language for babies, provided by Mey Lau.

BSL translates baby talk and bridges generational gaps

The benefits of baby sign language may start with baby, but they reach to all the extended family! Learning to communicate with a child, grandchild, niece or nephew delivers all the language development perks to baby, while building relationships and bonds outside of just mommy and daddy.

Children can be difficult to understand when their verbal vocabulary is just developing, but even verbal communications that are easily understood by parents may prove difficult for a less familiar family member to decipher. Does ba mean bottle, bear, bye-bye? And if it is bottle, is baby requesting milk, water, juice?

Signing with a grandchild, niece or nephew allows for quick connections, communications and builds confidence for baby and adult. Imagine not feeling left out or left behind by having to turn to a parent to ask for an interpretation - “what is she saying?”... “what does he want?”. Sign language for babies allows the flow of interaction to remain focused between baby and adult rather than being dependent on parental translations or requests to repeat something.

Then, there is the common complaint that grandparents are missing out on interactions with their grandkids because they can’t hear what is being said in that soft child voice. Teaching signing to extended family members - - as well as teaching baby to sign - - can clarify the words that are heard while also substituting for words that are missed. Signing for babies is a fun way to build bonds and break down the generational and communication gaps.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles often time receive the honor of teaching the fun life lessons. How to make one giant chocolate chip cookie by using an extra large pan and an entire roll of cookie dough, for example. How to jump on the bed. And who can forget the relaxed bedtime during the week at grandma’s house. With all the fun things grandparents have to teach, why not start as soon as possible by learning to communicate earlier and easier with the little ones in your family.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles and many other family, friends and caregivers can study and learn baby sign language through books and online avenues in preparation for all the baby talk (signs) that await them. With free online video dictionaries and printable baby sign language flash cards, the information is more accessible than ever.

Outings with grandchildren can be a wonderful opportunity to practice signs - - a trip to the zoo to learn animals, the botanical gardens to practice colors, and so on. Another great option is to play the role of student; let the toddler in your life be your teacher and guide. Maybe the tot can even take control of the flashcards and really quiz grandpa!

This article was created with tons of love for The Raisin Chronicles by the team at in celebration of upcoming twins. Congratulations Carla. You are so lucky to have an awesome sister and so very blessed to have double-grand-joy on the way!


  1. Twins how wonderful and they both look like they are good size too. I hope you live close so you can help spoil them.:)

  2. Ah twins, how wonderful. Congratulations Jeanne, it this the first time you have become a grandma?

  3. Congrats on the adorable twins! Our grandkids used a few signs early on, especially words like eat, more, and all done. They could make themselves understood before they could say the words.

  4. I love babies! Congrats!

    This post is very interesting. My kids learned sign language in elementary school and I still remember.

  5. Congrats! You're going to enjoy loving up on those precious babies!

  6. Congratulations to all, very cool!

  7. Congrats! They are beautiful.

    Both of my children made up there own signs when they were pre-verbal. Watching a child learn language is amazing.

  8. Congrats! You must be very happy.

    We never used sign language, but I was always curious how it would have played out in our household.

  9. Beautiful babies. Stephen learned sign language at Riverside in Troy. It was a tremendous help to him and to us. It must be like being dropped in another country if a person, young or old, cannot communicate.

  10. How fun is that? Congratulations!


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