Category: Learning

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

The importance of age-appropriate activities in toddler’s learning and development

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”.

That’s where parents come in. Because Play is an activity where children show their remarkable ability for exploration, imagination, and decision making. Playing gives your toddlers a chance to express their feelings and practice managing them.

The type of play children are engaged, and their purposes are changed throughout childhood thus each age period has a level of appropriate activities needed for healthy development that parents should pay attention to. 

Did you know that Age-appropriate activities have many benefits for your children’s physical&psychosocial health, wellbeing and cognitive development?

A recent study has shown that appropriate playing activity for children aged 1-3 years is vital for their healthy neurological development, including overall gross motor development, self-help skills, and auditory perception. The study has emphasized on your vital role here to provide and facilitate these activities for your children as a parent.

You may have realized that you don’t even have to struggle to make children play or provide motivation. That is because children seem to have a natural urge to play, and playing brings pleasure and interest to them, meaning that it can be maintained with and without external rewards. 

How do age-appropriate activities support your child's development and learning?

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1. Healthier Neural&Physical development

Physical activities promote healthy growth and development at various levels, such as:

  • Developing stronger bones

  • Developing gross and fine motor skills

  • Building strength, endurance.

  • Improving balance and coordination

  • Improving posture

  • Improving concentration

  • Improving sleep

  • Developing a healthy cardiovascular system

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However, inadequate physical activity can bring young children many health issues. Lack of exercise may lead to weight gain or excess body fat, high blood pressure, bone health problems, and cardiovascular disease. Active children usually have fewer chronic health problems, are less likely to get sick, and are at a significantly lower risk of developing diseases or illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.




2.Social and emotional development

The cornerstone of success at school and in life is a successful social-emotional development. For example, playing with peers provides young children the opportunity to develop basic communication, Recognize familiar people, Use his imagination and Start to understand emotions and improve fairness and empathy as they learn to play with other children.

Your Kids will begin to gain an awareness of other people’s attitudes, speech, emotional expression, and behavior during the infant/toddler years. Such development includes a child’s understanding of what to expect from others, how to participate in back-and-forth social exchanges, and which social protocols are to be used with which social situations are to occur.

Associative Play usually begins at this age(2-3 years), so your child will begin looking for other kids. It’s crucial at this stage to give your child plenty of opportunities to spend time with peers.

Also, you need to know that your child always learns best from you, so try to point out different feelings (happy, sad, frightened) while watching tv or telling a story. It will allow your child to be more aware of his or her own feelings as well as those of others. Also, children may begin to display empathy by offering hugs and kisses when needed.

3.Recognition of Ability

The developing sense of your children’s’ self-efficacy includes an emerging understanding that they can make things happen and have special abilities. Self-efficiency is related to a sense of competence that has been identified as a basic human need. The improvement of children’s sense of self-efficacy can be seen in Play or exploratory actions when they act on an object to achieve a result. They pat a musical toy, for example, to make the sounds come out. Older infants can demonstrate recognition of their abilities by “I” statements, such as “I did it” or “I’m good at drawing.”

4.Cognitive development

when your child plays individually and with others, their cognitive skills, such as thinking, remembering, learning, and paying attention, are developed. Children develop the following cognitive skills through Play:

  • problem-solving
  •  the power of imagination and creativity
  •  concepts such as shapes, colors, measurement, counting and letter recognition
  •  strengths, such as concentration, persistence, and resilience.


Another recent research has stated that engaging your children in physical activity and establishing good sleep hygiene are essential to support learning, indicating a critical need for your hand to build supportive environments and community resources to facilitate children’s optimized learning. In turn, better learning outcomes predict better chances to secure work and develop careers that will lead to improved family environments for future generations.


After discussing the importance of activities for your children, and the vital role of these age-appropriate activities for healthy development at various levels, we are sure that you are now wondering how you could find these trustable and science-based activities, well, no need to worry here is specifically what you are looking for! OTPark Box can take care of all the importance listed above and even more!

By a subscription, OTPark Box will provide you a monthly box with appropriate activities for your kids! 

OTPark Box brings a wide variety of developmentally appropriate, expertly designed activities straight to your home. Each box is thoughtfully designed by a pediatric occupational therapist who has had a vast array of experiences working with children of all ages and developmental levels over the past 8 years.


Subscribe to OTPark Box for detailed tasks and activities that will focus on your child’s gross motor and fine motor skills; Cognitive Skills, handwriting development, ideas, and tasks focused on activities of daily living skills such as brushing teeth, dressing, etc.; visual-motor; and social skills related tasks –All in one box, in addition to daily routines, family time, and joyful learning.

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References:

Jirout J, LoCasale-Crouch J, Turnbull K, et al. How Lifestyle Factors Affect Cognitive and Executive Function and the Ability to Learn in Children. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1953. Published 2019 Aug 20. doi:10.3390/nu11081953 / https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723730/

Silva Batista MA, Almeida Honório SA, Jones GW, Matos Serrano JJ, Duarte Petrica JM. The influence of extra-curricular physical activities in the development of coordination in pre-school children [published online ahead of print, 2017 May 31]. Minerva Pediatr. 2017;10.23736/S0026-4946.17.04981-7. doi:10.23736/S0026-4946.17.04981-7/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28565901/

Pakarinen A, Hautala L, Hamari L, et al. The Association between the Preference for Active Play and Neurological Development in Toddlers: A Register-Based Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(7):2525. Published 2020 Apr 7. doi:10.3390/ijerph17072525/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178213/