Communicating before words

We all want to improve communication with our babies and young children. Using baby signing with your baby will open up a wonderful way of communicating long before words can be used.

Babies are amazing human computers waiting for us to load the data, they absorb information at an unbelievable rate. This is why a 5 year old can speak two or more languages fluently with no effort. Research shows that signing with babies from an early age enables them to communicate their feelings and thoughts to us in a way, which had not previously been recognised.

Young children often become frustrated because they are too hot, or hungry or just tired. You try to understand them, so you change their nappy, give them a drink or take them out to play! Is it any wonder they become angry when you get it wrong!

If you use simple and clear baby signing with your baby from around 6 to 8 months old you can expect your baby to be signing back to you at around 10 to 12 months old. All children are different and it may be sooner or take a little longer. You'll be surprised, it's easy to do and babies love to talk with their hands. Think of when your toddler wants to be picked up, what does he do? What happens when you wave goodbye to him? He waves back!

In our experience, as soon as baby starts signing to one person even sceptical partners, grandparents and siblings join in. Where a signing toddler is joined by a baby brother or sister they sign to each other!

Research shows that signing improves motor skills, cognitive skills, concentration and confidence.

Tinytalk and Makaton baby signing are recommended in the Young Mums To Be Student Packs. We are grateful for the work pioneered with Makaton to introduce baby signing to our learners.

Learn more about the Makaton MVDP Project - visit

The Makaton Project (MVDP) is a Charity and Makaton is an internationally recognised communication programme used in more than 40 countries. Makaton has recently introduced baby signing resources; learn more from their web site.

Tinytalk is now featured in our YMTB Student Packs and their web site includes a wide range of resources developed to support signing for babies.

The TinyTalk pack and DVD have won awards and Katie Mayne, founder and developer has received a Highly Commended award as Inspirational Business Mum of the Year 2007.

Tinytalk provide signing classes nationally through a network of co-ordinators and tutors - visit

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Using baby signing will not slow down your baby's speech development. In fact research shows baby may well talk sooner and hand-eye coordination can also develop more quickly.

Your baby will stop using signs as he begins to speak, but by then you will already have been communicating for many months. Using signs as well as speech can make the 'terrible twos' just that bit easier.

Want to know more : Call NCLP on 01452 886416.

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