Baby signing is one of the most popular parent-and-baby activities of 2016. Babies learn to use their hands long before they can speak, and so we can teach them to communicate using simple signs. I was sceptical when I first took J to Tiny Talk, wondering how one class per week could get results. However, we had a brilliant time! Sarah, who leads the Solihull class, is very patient and energetic, with great tips for remembering the signs.
Baby signing songs
The classes are built around singing, which is one of the reasons that we have taken so much from them! Every week we sing lots of different songs, using a handful of core signs. This holds J’s attention, and makes them simpler for us to remember when we get home. Singing and signing together helps with baby’s language development, and gives them confidence to join in as they get older. We often use rattles, shakers, and other percussion instruments, to enhance the musicality of the words we are singing. When the babies start to get tired towards the end, this encourages them to focus and listen.
Baby signing sensory activities
Tiny Talk classes always feature a signing sensory activity. Sometimes Sarah reads a story while showing us the signs. Other times we sing Twinkle Twinkle, while rolling flashing balls to represent stars. We occasionally play peekaboo using coloured scarves to hide behind. Whatever the activity, they are always very age appropriate, and relevant to the topic. Sarah always concludes with a cup of tea for mums and dads, and a lovely playtime with lots of toys for the babies. We are given a sheet with suggestions of how to incorporate signing into our daily lives.
As with music, we find baby signing a great bonding activity. We remember as many of the signs as we can, and use them alongside the spoken word at home. Although J has not started to copy us yet, at 4 months old he is just learning how to use his hands. We are hopeful that this lovely class will allow him to communicate his needs to us, long before he is able to vocalise them.