Grandparents and Baby Sign Language

Since the launch of Baby Hands, each week I get more and more emails from Australian grandparents asking questions on baby sign language, requesting more information on baby sign language or wanting to share their baby sign language story.

For those of you out there who are a grandparent and have not begun using baby sign language with your grandchildren, I will highlight the benefits of doing so and get you to join this amazing grand-parenting revolution.

In Australia today, we have a lot more couples having children and needing to return to work and rely on family or childcare to take care of their children.  We have seen over the last number of years a growing trend in childcare centres using Baby Hands baby sign language in their centres as they recognise the benefits of having a communication tool they can use with pre-verbal children.  This makes the childcare workers life easier and results in a calmer happier baby.

For those who are lucky enough to have grandparents living nearby, grandparents are assisting in minding their grandchildren and as a result the grandparenting baby signing revolution has begun.

So why would grandparents want or need to use baby signing with their grandchildren?

As well as dealing with the generation gap, grandparents can experience difficulty in understanding your baby as their speech develops.  Baby sign language offers grandparents an opportunity to communicate with their grandchildren in a fun educational way while strengthening the bond and communication between them.

Because Grandparents may not be around your baby as much they can find to more difficult to understand the ways that your baby try’s to communicate naturally, through expressions and gestures.

A lot of preverbal expression is through gesture and facial movements but if you are not completely familiar with a baby it can be more difficult to interpret their natural gestures (many parents still find this difficult with their own child which is why baby sign language is so useful).

But for Grandparents who are even less familiar with baby’s expressions and movements using baby sign can help them to really understand their grandchild and get involved in their world.

A number of Baby Hands signing grandparents started introducing baby sign language to their grandchildren by downloading the Baby Hands free baby sign language poster.  This introduces 6 of the most common signs and is a great starting point for any grandparent out there interested in getting started.  This chart covers the signs for eat, drink, milk and more which can all be used at mealtimes with your grandchild.

The final two signs on the chart are for Mum and Dad.  These signs can be used when the babys parents come home from work or are leaving the house or when you show the baby any photos of Mum and Dad.  Once you have mastered these signs, the Australian Baby Hands book or Baby Hands dvd is a great way to add to your signing vocabulary.  The dvd provides you with a dictionary of signs and there is the option to include subtitles while viewing.

There are lots of different activities you can do with your grandchildren which can incorporate baby sign language.  These include:

  • Reading with your baby : signing some of the words in the book or pointing at the images in a book while doing a sign and saying the word
  • Singing songs:  sign a nursery rhyme to your grandchild and incorporate some signs into it.  Think of how much children love incy wincy spider, it is exactly the same when you introduce signs to any of your grandchildrens nursery rhymes.
  • Take a trip to the park, the zoo, the beach etc and point out things and do the sign for them.   Signs such as bird, swings, beach or animal signs are always popular among children.

As I say in my products, the most important part to baby signing is having fun.  Baby sign language provides grandparents with an amazing opportunity to get to know their pre-verbal grandchildren and also their verbal grandtoddlers who may be a little hard to comprehend.  Start building on that special bond with your grandchildren today with Baby Hands products and baby sign language classes.

I would love to hear from all you grandparents out there who are using it and would like to share their story with our newsletter readers.

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4 Responses to “Grandparents and Baby Sign Language”

  1. teresa Says:

    great to see this. I would have liked to have gone to the free session at the Kawana library but am working.I have a new grandson so would love to use signing with him. Thanks.

  2. JackieDurnin Says:

    Hi Teresa

    That’s a shame that you missed out. If you would like to contact Yuki directly she can let you know if there are any more sessions coming up in the future.

  3. Mary Says:

    I, the grandmother, introduced sign language to my children with grandchildren. It’s been fascinating watching everyone at our dinner table (aunts, uncles, etc.) signing for the baby as we eat!

  4. JackieDurnin Says:

    Thats great Mary, thanks for letting me know. If you have any pictures I would love to see them :)

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