Monday, March 17, 2014

Founding Principles of Sign4Baby

As I was driving in the car the other day it dawned on me that I haven't shared the REASON for the name "SIGN 4 BABY" as my company name. It is two parts really. One is that there are 4 guiding principles, and the other is a constant reminder that we don't sign for our own benefit, but rather for our child's benefit.

The reason I founded Sign4Baby was more than just to teach parents ASL vocabulary. I wanted to make a difference by helping your baby.... AND helping you. While most parents report that their goal in signing with their baby is better communication, the foundation of my work has 4 guiding principles:

1. Better communication between baby and parent. 
Sometimes that means being a better listener. Other times that means really figuring out what your baby is saying. Either way, my goal is to help you establish better communication early on that will help you for YEARS to come. Often this means helping shift focus to the best signs to teach first, how to engage your baby and remembering to stay child focused for measurable success. There's a reason why my tagline is "Discover what your baby is thinking!" as we work to focus on your baby's curiosities and have fun along the way.

2. Bonding with Baby.
It is an important tenet of the Attachment philosophy to bond well with your baby so they feel secure and do not develop trust issues. I don't know about you, but I'd say a pretty fantastic bond is created when you can understand another person fully and they can understand you. Communicating effectively lays a foundation for a solid bond in your relationship to your baby.

3. Brain development.
I've said it time and time again, ALL babies are smart, just most of them don't have this tool, if you will, to SHOW you how smart they really are. When you can see a child comprehend something, it is innate that you continue to engage and teach. Parents of signing babies are given the positive reinforcement to be motivated to prolong discussion and exploration, in turn your baby is learning even more. Signing is a fabulous thing to add into your story time. I talk about it on the Fox 5 Mommy and Daddy Handbook segment last week. I know from my own experience growing up that children who signed as babies have an aptitude for learning... demonstrating higher IQ, being in advanced classes and being able to think outside the box.

4. Boundary Setting.
As your baby becomes a toddler they will love to explore and for their safety (and your sanity) you need to establish boundaries. It is a challenging concept for toddlers as they strive to become more independent and are seemingly met with more rules just as the world is getting more interesting with their new found ability to walk. The visual aid that baby sign language provides helps those boundaries become more clear to your exploring toddler and even supports the emergence of self regulation. In the end, the time invested in using sign language paired with boundary setting reduces a lot of frustration for YOU and BABY.

Your baby deserves to be heard and understood. Parenting should be made a little easier. I help you accomplish both of those things PLUS all of the above.

Joann Woolley is owner and instructor of Sign4Baby in San Diego teaching parents how to communicate with their pre-verbal baby using American Sign Language. With her in depth knowledge of ASL as her first language she takes you beyond just the basics in signing, also filling your parenting tool belt with parenting tips and tricks coupled with signing as a great boundary teaching tool for toddlers. Want to know which signs most parents start with but gets them stuck in the mud? I'll send you that hundred dollar tip for FREE.

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