When you first announce to your spouse, your parents, or your friends that you are going to be using sign language with your baby, don’t be surprised if you are met with less-than-favorable reactions. You may have some loved ones who find the very idea of sign language for babies odd, while others may actually disapprove.
One argument that signing parents encounter is that sign language for babies is just a fad. Because it is a more recent practice and because it is growing in popularity, some people may see it as a passing trend. If you want, you can delve into baby sign language’s proven benefits with these people who call it a fad, but you might find it easier to respond with something such as this: “If it is going to help my baby communicate with me, who cares if it’s a fad?”
Baby sign language is hardly an emerging trend. It has actually been practiced for more than twenty years. In fact, the most prominent research on the subject of signing with babies took place in the mid-1980s. Of course, since the beginning of time, babies have likely been gesturing to get their needs met.
Another form of skepticism you may encounter is the belief that babies can’t actually learn to sign. People who believe this will probably not be open to evidence that proves them wrong. Therefore, your best strategy is to let your baby prove it to them. It is just a matter of time before your baby is signing. That should make a believer out of anyone.
Finally, you may find that your loved ones are concerned that you are trying to turn your child into a super-baby. They may fear that you are forcing sign language on your little one and not allowing her to be a child. This is an understandable concern from people who are not familiar with the practice of baby sign language. Try to explain to them that gesturing is a natural part of a baby’s communication development, and then show them how easily you incorporate signing “lessons” into your child’s regular routine. This will usually alleviate this type of concern.