If I could go back to the time when my own children were infants and choose the programs for them all over again, these are the ones I would choose:
With all the benefits that Sign Language offers, I honestly can’t think of a reason not to Sign with your kids. I would also start this as young as possible. Sign Language is easy to learn and it’s fun.
Studies have shown the Signing has numerous benefits including:
- More rapid development of language skills compared to children who do not learn to sign
- Helps to establish critical social skills
- It acts as a second language which provides bilingual advantages in future
- Facilitates communication between parent and child and improves cooperation
- Provides infants with a means of communicating their needs and thus reducing frustration and tantrums
- Enhances bonding between parent and child
- Fun physical activity that helps to develop self-esteem in children
- Provides additional benefits when taught to special needs children
- Increases IQ points between 8 to 13 points which has long lasting effects
There are many Sign Language books available to help you get started, but I prefer watching videos because it is easier to see how to Sign the word properly. There are many Sign Language programs and DVDs that you can choose from, but the only one I’ve tried is Signing Time and the kids and I love it.
Even though my son can speak at a hundred words a minute, we still watch Signing Time together and listen to the songs in the car. We sign the words to each other and we have a lot of fun singing his favorite songs over and over. Although you don’t need Signing Time to teach your kids how to Sign, I like the program because it is a fun way to learn and teach Sign Language.
Aside from Signing Time, I also use ASL Pro. It is a free online Sign Language dictionary that teaches you how to sign words with short video clips. Whenever I forget how to sign a word or if there is a word we use often but don’t know the sign for it, I will look it up on ASL Pro then teach it to the kids. Clickhere for a list of other free Sign Language resources that you can use.
An easy way to get started with Sign Language is to look up how to sign a few common words that your child is interested in and use those signs whenever you say the word. For example, if your child loves eating bananas, you can sign banana as you ask, “Would you like to eat a banana?” Or if your child loves looking at fish, you can sign fish as you say, “Let’s go look at the fish!” As you get familiar with these signs, look up more signs and introduce those to your child.
Taking music lessons can bring about many benefits for your child including:
· Helping your child learn to read and understand emotions more easily.
· Helping your child learn a second language.
· Helping your child develop his or her right brain.
To really derive the full benefits of learning music, I think it is important for a child to learn how to play an instrument. It doesn’t matter which instrument so long as it is an instrument rather than a generalized overview of music.
So far, we’ve looked at the Yamaha Music Kids program, the Kindermusik program and the Suzuki Method. So far, I like the latter program best.
You don’t have to jump straight into music lessons if you don’t have the time. Just exposing your children to music and enjoying music together is already a great start. This is where I find the Signing Time program doubles up – listening and singing along to the songs is also a music activity for us.
Another music activity that I think is worthwhile is introducing your children to classical music so they can hear the various musical instruments within an orchestra. If you’re worried that classical music can be a bit heavy, then buy a selection of classical works for kids – there are lots of classical music CDs for children that play the lighter, more popular pieces that are easier to listen to. Even if you buy a CD with the top 100 Favourite Classical Pieces, your child is sure to hear a lot of familiar music that have been adapted and used in commercials, movies, etc.
The Little Einsteins was a program that I didn’t mind my children watching because it introduces music, geography, art and animals and encourages team work. My son once recognised a piece of music that was playing in the background at the shopping mall that he had heard on the Little Einsteins.
Exposing your child to Sign Language and music can have a hugely positive impact on his or her development. In part two of this series, I will explore three more activities that can bring out the best in your young child.
Part Two of Top 5 Activities for Early Childhood Development will be published soon. Stay tuned…
This article was originally published on Figur8net. You can read the original article here.