April 27, 2010

Manners Are Important

Posted by Kristi at 1:05 PM
There's nothing more adorable than children who use their manners.  Teaching children at a young age to use "please" and "thank you" sets the ground work for them to become polite, respectful adults. 

As with anything, the younger you teach your children (or other people's children) to use their manners, the sooner it becomes second nature.  This is another great way to benefit from using sign with your small children. 

My 13 month old daughter has just started  what I like to refer to as the "verbal explosion."  She has begun repeating every word she hears and spends hours during the day practicing her favorites.  For the last week it has been "please" and "thank you."  Not only has she learned the words, but she understands the concepts!  If you have something that she wants (which is ALL the time) she will simply walk up to you and put an open hand to her chest, moving it in a circular pattern--the sign for please.  After she gets what she wants she says "te-too".  I know, how adorable!  She will spend quite some time "finding" things to give you just so that she can remind you to say thank you.

My point in bragging about this is that she is 13 months old!!!!  I have to say that in my experience with non-signing children, very few of them at this age can get past the frustration of trying to tell you what they want, let alone use their manners when asking for it.

Whether you use sign regularly or not, whether you have an infant, a toddler or a preschooler -- if manners are something that you want to instill in your children, teach them these two signs, and use them regularly.  For the older kids, it will be a game -- one they will have fun with, for the younger ones, it will be a way to communicate with you...it's a win-win!

PLEASE: place one, open hand over chest and move in a circular pattern

THANK YOU: Touch finger tips of one or both hands to chin and pull forward

Oh, and just for fun, here's a little song we like to sing about manners: (tune of "where is thumbkin")

April 20, 2010

Sign for Ball

Posted by Kristi at 12:49 PM
Watch this great video with your little ones and learn the sign for "Ball".  The powers-that-be over at Baby Signs, Inc have teamed up with the Baby Einstein creators to come up with some pretty fun DVDs to help teach you baby to sign.  This one's part of the Park Signs

Also, if you are interested in getting any of these DVDs for your home collection, Baby Signs is running a great BOGO deal right now...check it out

April 15, 2010

Fun for Preschoolers

Posted by Kristi at 1:44 PM
Nothing excites me more than watching children's faces light up when they are excited!  I have incorporated the Sign, Say & Play(R) classes into my own circle time at my day care, and I have to tell you, it is a riot!!!  The class is all about signing and dancing and of course learning new signs.

We've really been spending a lot of time on the park signs to go along with the great weather we've been having.  A few days this week I was blessed to have my cousin's children attend the day care, and while they are not exposed to signing on a daily basis, you wouldn't know it when watching them dance around the room signing away!  I even caught the oldest (now 3) signing herself to sleep at naptime to the "pretty butterfly" song...too cute!!!

Something I have noticed this week, especially since I have had a lot of 3 and 4 year olds at the day care, is that introducing sign isn't just for the little ones.  The preschool age children LOVE to sing and dance, and learning sign is an extra bonus.  Like I told one of my parents the other day, they enjoy doing it because it is like a game to them -- something they can do with their hands :)

If you have been thinking about getting your children involved in signing but haven't because you feel they may be too old to actually get something from it, or even enjoy it; you couldn't be more mistaken.  My advise would be to go for it -- find a sign class near you and enroll, it will be worth it.  These classes (at least the Baby Signs(R) ones) aren't set up to be some monotonous educational workshop, but are set up to be PLAY CLASSES!  In my experience, it is fun for all ages!!!

April 14, 2010

Impact of Baby Signs(R) on Literacy

Posted by Kristi at 1:17 PM
Linda Acredolo, Ph.D. and Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D., Co-founders of Baby Signs, Inc. have done significant research on the many benefits of signing with your baby.

I was trying to find a way to tie signing in with one of our favorite ways to teach our babies and get them excited about learning -- reading!  Turns out that Drs. Acredolo and Goodwyn have published the perfect acticle to make my point.

"In addition to the obvious importance of parents reading to their children, it turns out that adding signing to the mix makes a significant contribution by helping jumpstart development in a number of critical reading-relevant domains." Some examples:

Verbal language skills

Phonemic Awareness

Familiarity with print and enjoyment of books

Please follow the link and check out the Full Article, you'll be amazed on just how much everything ties together, and you may even wonder why more people aren't choosing to add sign to their story time!

April 10, 2010

Finding the Time

Posted by Kristi at 10:06 AM
Many parents often wonder, "when will I find the time", when it comes to starting sign with their children. Between diaper changes, feedings, play groups, and a slew of other "new parent innitiations" there never seems to be an available time to sit down and teach signs.

The truth is, if you are looking for a perfect time during the day to teach a sign, it's when you are busy doing all those other things. The natural tendencies of signing with children makes it easy to fit it into the day. Think about it, when you teach your child to wave bye-bye do you sit him/her down and practice it? No, you teach them when it makes sense...when someone is leaving! Likewise, the perfect time to teach your child to sign "eat/food" is when you are sitting down to eat; teach diaper when you are changing diapers; and don't get me started on all the opportunities to teach signs during a play group!

Many parents worry that it will be too time consuming to learn sign themselves in order to teach it to their children. That's the great part about it...you don't need to! Your children aren't expecting you to carry on in-depth conversations in sign language; they just need one sign. So here's a tip: before you go out for the day, think about the things you are going to see and find out the signs for those things. Taking a Zoo trip? Learn to sign Monkey, Lion, Butterfly, etc... Taking a trip to the park? Learn to sign Tree, Swing, Slide, etc... There are great on-line resources out there if you just want to learn a sign quickly. I really like http://www.aslpro.com/

Taking the time to learn even just a few signs will open a door of communication between you and your baby that you never thought possible. Babies really are very intelligent. We, as parents, are the ones missing out if we don't make the effort to communicate with them.

April 9, 2010

New Page, New Ideas

Posted by Kristi at 9:19 PM
Okay, I think I'm pretty happy with the page so far. What do you all think?

I have found that the more and more I get involved in the blogging world, the more I want to say. So, I'm thinking about adding another page to this blog. While I really want to get the word out about signing with babies, I also feel that I have a lot more to say about the work of child-rearing. As a child care provider, I have experienced many different scenarios and have been educated not only through experience, but through various books, classrooms, and conferences.

I'm not going to try to act as though I have all the answers, as any mom can tell you, no one does!!!! I simply want to be here to share my stories and insights...do with them what you want :) So please look for these posts in the future; I'm anxious to share!

Thanks...and let me know what you think of the new look!

April 8, 2010

Page Under Contruction

Posted by Kristi at 8:29 PM
Hello all followers (and hopefully some newcomers too!). As you can see the space is a little different. I am trying to find a template that is better suited for me.

Be that as it may, I am depressingly new at this, so it may take a few days. I could really use some feedback on my page though.


Sign for "Bird"

Posted by Kristi at 12:46 PM
One of our favorite signs in the house right now is "bird". Spring is in the air, and the birds are chirping their beautiful songs outside our windows. It's amazing watching how happy the little ones become when they realize that you hear the same thing they do...and that you understand that they are excited about it, too! Take a look at the video below and teach your children the sign for "bird".

April 7, 2010

Hop On Board the Potty Train

Posted by Kristi at 12:56 PM
Calling all potty training parents!!!! Wouldn't it be nice to have your little Princes and Princesses sitting on the throne before they turn two?

I know you may think it is too good to be true...it's not. Personally speaking, my oldest was trained by two, and my youngest (now 13 months) is about to begin.

Often, I hear from parents that they don't want to rush the process; that they are waiting for their little ones to be ready. While I can completely understand this way of thinking, it must be said that getting children on board the potty train before the age of two is actually easier.

That's right, I said easier.

Check out this video from the Baby Signs(R) Program, if it's something that you are interested in, let me know...you can order the kit from me directly :)

April 6, 2010

A Great Video

Posted by Kristi at 10:01 AM
Okay, it's a little technical, but this is a great video, giving you an idea of what the BabySigns(R) Program is all about. I'm thinking about posting a video of my own baby doing signs so you can see what it's all about without all the narration...still trying to convince the husband that it's okay to put her on here :) Enjoy!

April 2, 2010

Never too late to start

Posted by Kristi at 9:26 PM
I love my job.
I love that every day I get to wake up and play.
I love that I get to teach children all there is to know about the environment around them, and that I get to watch them freak out with elation when they see something like a bug for the first time!

The beautiful thing about incorporating sign into daily activities is that the children understand it even more. I don't get those awkward looks as if the child is thinking "I don't know chinese!"
It's almost as though the children automatically know how to sign when they are in their infant stages. Think about it; how quickly does a child learn to wave bye-bye? Or shake their head "no"? This is sign language!!!!! It is a totally natural thing for kids to pick up on.

Here's a great example. I started watching a new child at my day care this week. She is 18 months old and her verbal skills are coming along great, infact, she is a sponge; picking up on almost every new word she hears. Learning sign for her would be beneficial because it will help her put concepts together with the words she hears.

She has had no prior experience with being taught to sign. On her third day here she was signing "more", "help" and "all done". On her fourth day she made the sign for "food", and today, her fifth day, she made the sign for "bunny" (we were decorating Easter eggs). You can't tell me that this is not unbelievable!!!!

My point in sharing this with you is that it doesn't matter when you introduce sign. It's never too late. Honestly, the later you introduce it, the sooner they may pick it up; simply because they have developed the motor skills to make the signs.

Just try it. Who wouldn't love for their baby to be able to ask for help instead of crying for it?

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