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Why Sign Language Can Help Avoid The Terrible...

I have recently discovered something amazing.  My son Eli, who is 3 1/2, knew the sign language to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."  We often sing songs while I am getting he and his younger brother, Tyler, dressed in the morning.  It helps to keep their focus and avoids tantrums (sometimes).  I was shocked as we started singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" that Eli started signing it.  When I took him to the babysitter that day, I asked if she taught him.  She said she did and that he picked it up the very first try.  I was amazed.  So I began wondering if I could teach he and Tyler other words in sign language and have it be part of their every day communication.  After all, sign language is like a foreign language and is a remarkable resource to have.

I have started out with easy words such as mommy, daddy, sister, brother, thank you, help, stop, etc.  Every time I say one of the words to the boys, I also sign it.  The signs are fairly easy and easy for them to do as well.  They learn by watching me.

The more I have researched the benefits of children using sign language, the more inclined I am to teach them.  The most astounding reason was avoiding the terrible twos.  Sign language can help with the communication barrier between adults and toddlers.  Many toddlers have great communication skills at that age, we just can't understand them.  They have not refined their abilities to annunciate, speak clearly and such.  My son Tyler will speak in full sentences, but if you are paying full attention, you won't understand much of what he says.  Still I find myself saying, "what?" an awful lot.  That is frustrating to him I am sure.  But by teaching Tyler to use simple sign language to help communicate what he wants, it helps to alleviate some of that frustration.  Instead of just saying, "more," which naturally comes out "mo," he signs the "more" sign with it.  I can fully understand what he is saying and not get flustered myself and send him into a major tantrum.

I highly recommend doing some research on the internet or in your library to learn about sign language and the benefits to your child.  I found one great resource at www.parents.com

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