Sign Language

Parent Wishes #14: Communication Skills Support and Sign Language for Young Children

What are some ways to give communication skills support? One parent wanted more support for kids with learning and developmental concerns in programs like preschool and kindergarten and daycares. She suggested sign language. Following are other ideas too shared from an earlier post.communication skills support children

  •  Read and share books. This is one of the easiest to do. You can snuggle together and read any time of the day. Tuck a few books into a bag for waiting in line, going on the bus, etc.

  • Tell stories. No equipment needed, other than imagination. Make up stories about anything: the shoes that couldn’t wait so they left by themselves, a magic box of crayons, an upside down rainbow. You might find this hard at first but imagination will stretch quickly.

  • Sing songs. Sing favorites, make up silly songs to old tunes. Hum Mulberry bush and sing, “This is the way we vacuum the floor, vacuum the floor, vacuum the floor.”

  • Have conversations. Notice your child is upset about something? Grab 2 stuffies and have them talk about the problem. Use words that your child might need.

  • Stir in words. For everyday situations and tasks include words. At the store, talk about what you need. Ask yourself questions and answer them. Describe the colors, sizes, of fruits and veggies. Doing the laundry, sort the clothes with words, “Okay, shirt. You have dark stripes, so I think you go in the dark pile.” Ask your child questions, and wait for the answer. Sometimes finding the words takes time but a smile invites kids to talk.

  • Sign language isn’t very common but it’s not hard to learn, especially for kids. Not being able to tell adults what you need can be tremendously frustrating for young children. Sometimes, no matter how hard they try, the words just aren’t there yet. Having some basic signs helps. There is a wealth of resources on-line for sign language.

sign language moreCommunication skills support is vital for children to be able to interact with others. It’s no wonder it’s a wish of parents and, like the sign in the photo above, they would like more. Is there a way you can support your child’s communication learning and play today?


Hand Signs for Please and Thank you

While we all want the best for our children, we don’t always know how to support their best learning. Did you know that social skills are an important part of learning, early development, and kindergarten readiness? Surprisingly, social skills have more impact on later success than academic ones. Feeling anxious can interfere with learning, and feeling comfortable and confident can make it easier.

early social skills-please hand signSome early social skills for young children are learning to share, to take turns, to wait, and to use polite words. Besides the words for please and thank you, the gestures are easy to learn and fun to use.

To make the gesture for please, open your right hand flat and put in on your chest, just below your chin. Move the hand over to the left, down, and back up in a circle. Do this a few times and that’s please, right in the area where the bib was keeping the shirt clean. (see the picture on the right)

early social skills - thank you hand signThank you is another fun gesture. The right hand touches the chin, and then moves back and down just a little way. This looks almost like blowing a kiss without the kiss part, or a quick wave. This gesture keeps clothes a lot cleaner, instead making sure that whatever was on the hand is now also on the face. (see the picture on the left)

The little boy in this please and thank you song video doesn’t have the pronunciation of the words, but he certainly has the message. These two little words can indeed help kids out in life. After all, saying thank you and being grateful is so important that we have a holiday to remind us! That message sometimes gets lost as the turkey and pumpkin pie take center stage. But to use the words of another song, the Hokey Pokey, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Easter Fun & Learning #3

I’ve been waiting to include this special video in my kindergarten readiness and learning blog until Easter.

Speaking of learning…did you know that even very young children will have individual strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning? There are usually clues about children’s learning styles while they are still babies. Some babies talk and chatter to themselves, their stuffies, and anyone who is close. Quite likely, these ones will prefer verbal learning methods. Some babies roll, crawl and pull themselves along the floor at amazing speeds so soon that their families barely have time to baby-proof the house. Chances are they are hands-on learners. Quiet little ones may be keen observers, liking to watch and learning visually. All children and all adults learn using all of these different ways, but we each have our own preferences.

Using sign-language seems to appeal to many young children and especially those who are hands-on. Did you know that signing a few words is another way to build brains? As kids learn to connect the action to the word, their brains are making connections too. And all that brain development helps grow readiness for kindergarten. Enjoy doing these spring and Easter signs with your child. Can you see/tell/feel how your child likes to learn?

(P.S. Thank you Signing Time.)