I have been thinking about my precious baby John and one of the things that I am most proud of is how well he can sign. I was a little worried because he doesn't say much, but he signs a TON. But at his last check up, the dr said it was normal for toddlers his age to only say about three words and in about 2 months he will start talking more. So, my take is that if we didn't teach John how to sign, he would only know those three words right now. Instead he is able to communicate with us so much more! It is so exciting and I can only assume it helps alleviate John's frustration at not being able to communicate freely with us.
Here are the signs John knows at the age of 16 months:
15. teddy bear
22. thank you
Now, Brad jokes that we teach John American Sign Language, but John uses 'John Sign Language'. Most of the signs John uses aren't perfect but we know exactly what he means. I remember feeling a little bad when then daycare teacher told me they try to really get the kids to do the exact movement. Well, I don't really care that he doesn't do the exact movement because....hello...he is only 16 months old and if he can do 23 signs to where I know what he is telling me, then I am perfectly fine with that. (And not to brag, but I seriously doubt that the other kids in John's class know as many signs as John does.)
To teach John to sign was actually really easy. I have taken him a couple times to a wonderful storytime at a local library that teaches 4 new signs each time with a puppet and a song. Then I just use those at home with John. I also have a book from a friend that shows how to do a handful of simple signs. My SIL also gave John a book with some signs and flashcards. I use the flascards with him sometimes at night only because it keeps him entertained while Brad is trying to put on his diaper after bathtime. That is it- he just picks it up since I try to use little signs with him often but I am not obsessive about it. I think it is fun! It is so cute to watch John read his books by himself and he does the signs for the animals as he sees them. So precious!
I know teaching babies to sign isn't for everyone, but it worked with John and I love love love it! It has been most rewarding when John walks up to me and signs 'eat' or 'milk'. Then I know exactly what he wants without him crying until I guessed what would make him stop crying! :)
Double bonus is that when Brad or I go deaf in our old age, we already know 23 signs to use with each other! :)
So, did you teach your kids to sign?