We have all heard about infant signing, and how it can help infants communicate before they are able to verbalize their desires and needs. When my son was born, I learned a lot about infant signing, and it was (and still is) such a thrill when he signs that he wants more milk, or want me to sing a song again.

I am not a child development expert, so I won’t get into whether signing is beneficial or not, but if it is something you are interested in learning more about, there are some resources that I found to be better than most. To learn a little more about infant signing generally, the Sign2Me website is pretty comprehensive with some interesting links and videos. Granted it is a bit biased (they’re in the biz after all), but it is a quick takeaway.

The infant signing book that was consistently recommended to me was “Sign With Your Baby” by Dr. Joseph Garcia. Most experts like it the most because it uses real American Sign Language and it is designed to be pretty easy to understand. It is about $10 on Amazon. I liked it and it gave me the popular signs to know in an easy to learn format.

If you are looking for a bit more whimsy, then you may like the Pick Me Up CD and accompanying book. You learn to use sign language with popular children’s songs as it comes with a CD and infant signing pictures for each song. The price on Amazon is about $25. Even if you don’t learn to sign the entire song, there are a couple of signs that are fun to know and use, and the songs are pretty good even if you just end up listening to them in the car.

When I wanted to quickly look up a sign, say for cheese or cracker, I found the online resource www.lifeprint.com to be really good. I like the pictures that really showed how to perform the sign, and often there is some description as to why the sign is that way or alternatives to the sign. Another website I thought was really good, with videos, is www.signingsavvy.com. For good DVDs, I loved SigningTime. These are DVDs in volumes so one volume is about food, another about getting dressed, etc.

If you live in the Boston area, there are two classes that are good to take. The first is the WeeHands class at Destination Maternity in Natick. You and your baby (up to new walkers) can take this class for free. It is about an hour long, once a week, and is lots of fun with singing and signing. The instructor gives out sheets from the class so you can continue at home. They keep the class to about 10 people though, so it can fill up fast and you need to pre-register.

The second is the one-time Infant Signing Class at Isis Parenting (5 locations). This class is designed for with or without your non-mobile, pre-verbal baby. You get tons of resources and learn the most popular baby signs.The cost is $40 for non-members ($36 for members). The price is for one parent/caregiver and child, and an additional parent or caregiver may attend for half price.

To see a list of other classes in your area, you can head to the Sign2Me website, and while I did mention that Amazon sells some of these books, CDs and DVDs, I have seen a lot in local consignment stores, so it may be worth scouting some of these items there.

So, are you going to sign with your baby? If you did, what did you think?


Image Credit: bjearwicke via stock.xchng


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