Category: Busy Lifestyle

Baby Sign Language

You might hate seeing your baby wailing, and you have no idea why. Is he hungry? Tired? Too hot? You could just wait until your baby learns to speak, but the reality is that you could be waiting for a word or two from seven months to a year. The good news? There’s a considerable way to start communicating with your baby at an earlier age(6months). It’s called baby sign language, and it could provide the tools you’ve been looking for to avoid frustration and keep a parent-baby bonding strong.

Why is baby sign language important?

It’s Fun!

There are many reasons for introducing your baby to baby signing. From the moment you see your baby repeat their first sign, you’ll be impressed and happy. Babies love signing because it gives them a meaning to connect with you more often and convey many different feelings. The best part is that there are a hundred daily chances to teach signs!

Making Words Visual 

Unlike a spoken word, a sign can be held static for a baby to imitate. Signs give meaning to words that would otherwise be too abstract for your baby to comprehend until they were much older. For example, the word wind does not refer to something your baby can see, but using an iconic gesture makes the subject instantly understood.

More Independent

Studies show that your baby feels confident in his ability to tell you what he wants, when he wants it, it gives him a greater sense of independence. Because he has a greater understanding of his environment, and because he has another of learning, associating, and understanding, he will feel freer to explore. You are providing a “scaffolding” for your baby’s learning experiences, whereby your baby makes new discoveries knowing you there for support and encouragement. If he needs help along the way, he easily able to ask for it.

Building knowledge

Your baby is able to take charge of his own education by indicating to you with a simple gesture just what it is he would like to know more about. He will also become very skillful at extracting further information from you! Baby sign language is a useful tool for assisting your baby in his development of concepts. Babies learn to form thoughts by their experiences and are continually refining their ideas and understanding. Infants start with “the big picture” and work from there. For example, when a baby first encounters a creature with four legs, tail, and fur, and is told it is a cat, suddenly every animal that loosely resembles a cat falls into the same category. This is because cat is the only word they may have learned to date to identify an animal.

Research has shown that child sign language may give a typically developing child a way to communicate months earlier, achieve better speech recognition skills over the first 3 years than those who only depend on vocal communication. This may help ease frustration between the ages of 6 months and 2 years — when children begin to know what they need, want, and feel, but don’t necessarily have the verbal skills to express themselves. Children who have developmental delays may also benefit from this. 

Keep in mind that it’s important to continue talking to your child as you teach baby sign language. Spoken communication is an essential part of your child’s speech development.

References:

Geers AE, Mitchell CM, Warner-Czyz A, Wang NY, Eisenberg LS; CDaCI Investigative Team. Early Sign Language Exposure and Cochlear Implantation Benefits. Pediatrics. 2017;140(1):e20163489. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-3489

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28759398/

MacDonald K, LaMarr T, Corina D, Marchman VA, Fernald A. Real-time lexical comprehension in young children learning American Sign Language. Dev Sci. 2018;21(6):e12672. doi:10.1111/desc.12672

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6191391/

Goodwyn SW. (2000). Impact of symbolic gesturing on early language development.
link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1006653828895

Hoecker JL. (2016). Is baby sign language worthwhile?
mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/baby-sign-language/faq-20057980

Working Mom? Some tips about work-Kid Balance

Let’s just be honest – working moms have two full time jobs.  Motherhood is a full-time job in and of itself.  24/7 in fact. Moms are full time cuddlers, full time listeners and full time finders of lost things.  On top of that, we working moms have our “real jobs.”  They require us to take a shower, change out of pajamas and actually talk to grown-ups.  Some days things run flawlessly and some days we can’t believe we signed up for this. 

At OT Park we know that sometimes it feels like you’re doing both things half way.  We know that sometimes you wish you could just focus on work and other days you wish you could just curl up in your pajamas and watch Daniel Tiger with your toddler all day.  And we know that almost all the time, it feels like there’s not enough of you to go around.  But take heart, mama.  You’re not alone.  What’s more, we’re sure you’re doing a fantastic job.  

At OT Park we get it.  We’re working moms too. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best tips to keep everything running smoothly (and help you keep your sanity to boot!). 

Working Mom

Leave work at work:

We know it’s hard.  Reminders ding, e-mails pop up, clients call.  But when you can, do your best to leave work at work.  Give it you’re all while you’re there and then check out.  If you’re able, silence your phone or even put it on airplane mode when you get home.  Disconnecting from work is hard, but it’s good for you and it’s good for your family.  And trust us when we say that taking a break will make you a better employee when it’s time to reconnect. 

Decide What's worth your Time:

Working moms are the queens of wearing all the hats.  We do dishes, plan meals, make sure everyone has a clean outfit for school in the morning.  But there comes a time when you have to decide what’s really worth your time.  If you’re anything like us you have two priorities:  your family and your job.  After that, most things are optional and that’s okay.  Every meal doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy, every outfit doesn’t have to be front page ready.  Let your priorities run your life and let the other things go.  

Have a plan for family time:

mom playing with kids

When you finally get home from work it can be overwhelming to decide what to do.  Dirty dishes call from the sink, a pile of laundry taunts you from the stairs and your toddler hangs on your leg calling “mommy, mommy, mommy!”  If you head home with a plan you’ll feel in control.  At OT Park we’re here to help.  That’s why we’ve created OT Park box.  Each OT Park box includes ready to go activities to do with your child.  Walk in the door, put down your bag and pick up OT Park box.  No prep required.  With OT Park box it’s easy to walk in the door and jump straight into quality time with your little one.  

Its "ok" to put yourself first:

Not all days are same. Some days you need to push yourself beyond boundaries and put yourself first before everything else, and when I say everything else, that means EVERYTHING ELSE including kids. NO mommy-guild should hurt you for your 30 minutes relaxing massages. Its okay to be first in the family to run the family. If mom is happy, family is happy. If mom is healthy, the family is healthy. 

And last but not the list, have fun!