Updated: Jun 18, 2019
Myth 1: "But She'll never talk if I teach her sign language!" or "My (Monster) Mother-in-Law says it will delay his speech". Firstly, since when have you EVER listened to your mother-in-law???? and secondly, when has she EVER been right????
Poor mother-in-laws, they are always in trouble, but to be fair, in this case - they are Definitely.... WRONG!
Signing augments speech and language especially if it is taught the Makaton way; that is, with Speech AND sign. No sign is ever made silently. Not only that but, you still carry on speaking normally, signing only the KEY word in the sentence e.g. "Do you want some Milk?" or " Bath time is Finished!". This means that your little one hears the full sentence, including the intonation, grammar and inflection, but is still able to understand the most important part of the sentence i.e. "Milk" or 'Finished'
Talking is MUCH quicker than signing! Signing slows down communication considerably and if any of your little ones have as much to say as I normally do, they will drop their signs as soon as humanly possible just to get their message across.
They may start with a sign or two, this will pick up at speed when they realise how much they are understood and how useful it is to sign. Once they have started talking however, they will start to drop their signs keeping only the ones they need for clarity (i.e. mispronunciations) or emphasis (My youngest used "Sad" for ages after he could speak, just so that we fully understood quite HOW sad he Really was.... and believe me, it was SAD!! :D)
Myth 2: "It's really hard to learn to sign!" Says WHO????? (Please don't tell me its the mother-in-law again!!!)
Learning sign language is EASY! Firstly - Babies sign naturally, on their own. pointing, clapping and waving are all signs that we teach them without even thinking about it. Why not add to their vocabulary? How would you sign eat? or drink? or even "wash your face"? - If you brought all 5 fingers to the corner of your mouth, mimed drinking from a cup or rubbed your cheeks with your hands YOU CAN SIGN! Makaton signing is extremely intuitive! There are a few signs that are slightly more challenging and are used mainly for consistency, so that everyone using Makaton can be understood by each other. My point is however that it's EASY!
Start with a few signs until you have both got the hang of it. Be gentle on yourself, do it as often as you remember! You'll get there! Remember each little one learns at a different pace - each of my boys took 5 months to start signing back (That is A LOT of one way conversations!!) I have however taught little ones who have started within a week (to be honest they are few and VERY far between!!) Stick with it though - It's really rewarding when you do.
Myth 3: "Baby sign will make my kid smarter" or "my baby will speak sooner with baby sign"
Nope - Sorry, baby sign won't make them speak any sooner and the debate as to whether it makes them smarter rages on. What I can tell you though, is that your little one will definitely be able to COMMUNICATE sooner. This in turn will reduce frustrations and definitely increase the connection you have between each other, UNTIL speech develops.
The KEY points with signing are: that you NEVER silent sign, Be Consistent (choose a sign and stick with it) and sign only the most important word in the sentence.
Go to https://www.babybabble.guru/signs for some easy signs to start with.