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Communication, the backbone to a healthy relationship with your child
From the moment babies are born, these tiny human beings start communicating with the world around them. The vital connection between you and your infants depends on this communication. Infants will use extensive body language, facial expressions, and all sorts of verbal sounds to interact with you. These movements and sounds will eventually evolve into language. But until they do, you may have an incredibly difficult time understanding your infants' attempts to tell you things.
How many times have you wished you could look into your babies' minds and know what was going on in there? How many parents have felt the instinctual longing to extract a thought or a word from their troubled infants? The inability to understand your infants is certainly not because you don't try hard enough, nor is it because the infants abandon their attempts to express themselves. Infants have an instinctual need to communicate with you, just as you have an instinctual need to understand them.
Infants are born with abundant intelligence. However, they have a limited means to let you know what their thoughts and needs are. Their undeveloped vocal cords restrict them from participating in the verbal language around them. Imagine how it must feel to be a baby who has many specific needs and thoughts to express, but has no effective way to make those specific needs or thoughts understood. At times, it must be frustrating for these small and socially dependent beings to live with these limitations.
Communication is one of the highest forms of social interaction. Leading researchers in infant behavior have determined that social interaction is crucial to all infants' development. They have further concluded that for a caregiver to withhold social responses to an infant's attempts to communicate is one of the most disruptive things that can occur in the infant's learning process.
What can you do to encourage this learning process? Here is where Sign with your Baby can contribute to your infants' development. Imagine how your babies might feel if one day you started using simple hand movements to communicate. Let's say you make a particular motion during a certain daily activity, such as eating. Soon your infants associate that movement with the situation or activity that was taking place when the motion was introduced. They begin to experiment with their own hands and discover they can replicate the movements you make. Receiving reinforcement from you, babies quickly learn that by making this motion, they can communicate their needs and wants.
The time between birth and when your infants utter their first recognizable words can be a time of miscommunication or a time when your communication is less than precise. This does not have to be the case. These precious months can be rich in meaningful and effective infant/parent interaction. Using manual communication with your infants can help build a solid foundation for mutual understanding, dramatically contributing to the bonding process.