Thursday, 18 September 2008

RAISING BILINGUAL CHILDREN: Signing baby!

Pan-Pan is almost 18 months and his signs go from strength to strength: he now signs frantically for 'up' (as in 'pick me up'!); 'keys' and 'light' (he loves to play with my keyring and the lightswitch); 'eat', 'biscuit', 'milk' and 'more' (he loves his food!); and sweet things like 'home' when we arrive back at the house. Some of his signs are abstract, ie, the object isn't in view when he makes the sign. He can now make around 45 signs, as opposed to around 16 back in May.

Signs Pan-Pan makes (45 signs):
Milk
More
Eat
Hot
Cold
Ball
Book
Baby
Listen
Duck
Pig
Bird
Crocodile
Chicken
Lion
Dog
Cat
Biscuit
Aeroplane
Sleep
Music
Listen
No
All gone
Pick me up
Drink
Water
Rabbit
Keys
Light
Home
Daddy
Telephone
Shoes
Toothbrush
Flower
Ladybird
All gone
Grandma
Open
Bubbles
Helicopter
Lady
Car
Put it on/Take it off (He made this sign up - he taps his chest with both hands!)

Signs Pan-Pan understands:
Change time
Where
Frog
Horse
Elephant
Cow

Some parents are concerned that baby signing may delay speaking, but in my experience, it accelerates it, and this is bourne out by the research, with children who signed as babies having a wider vocabulary than those who didn't (see http://www.babysigners.co.uk/i2.php?mid=3&sid=0&a=page). Just as babies quickly replace crawling with walking once they realise it's advantages, they also replace their signs with words as soon as they are able. Pin It now!

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