Communicating with your baby by Lisa Mathias
Nothing prepares you for the huge change in your life when you become a parent. Unless you’re a parent, you won’t truly understand this until it happens. Suddenly you are responsible for this tiny little person, making sure they are fed, warm, changed and so on. You may be lucky and have a baby who seems to be happy all the time and sleep ‘through the night’ or more realistically have a crying baby where you really have no clue what they want, and you are absolutely exhausted. Beyond anything you could ever have imagined when reading a myriad of baby books during pregnancy.
This is where, for me, connecting with other new parents was vitally important. To know that I wasn’t the only one struggling with my new baby and that there were others out there who ‘get it’. So I googled ‘baby classes’ and booked us onto a couple of baby development groups locally. I was also interested in baby signing and started off with a couple of books from the library.
When my daughter started signing ‘milk’ to daddy because normally I would get her up from the lunchtime nap, we were so happy. From there, she added a few more signs, before an explosion of signs to communicate not just her needs but things she was interested in. She went on to stringing signs, and words together to make sentences. As her speech developed, she naturally dropped the signs where her words were understood. For the trickier words, where she couldn’t yet use more complex speech sounds, signing really helped to prevent her getting frustrated.
When my part-time work request was turned down (I was a secondary school teacher) I made the huge decision to start my own business. There weren’t baby signing classes in my area at the time, I was already starting to see the massive benefits as a parent myself and I could utilise my teaching skills. This was 10 years ago, and my baby has just celebrated her 11th birthday, at home because, you know, lockdown!
My TinyTalk Baby Signing classes moved online as soon as the government announced, “if you can, work from home”. I am still supporting my families every week via live sessions (in private Facebook groups), just as in our face-to-face classes, we cover useful signs linked to a weekly theme, reinforced through nursery rhymes and sensory and language activities. Plus we have time to ‘chat’ with each other, about how we’re all doing. I’m so grateful that I can still work, doing something I love, and have time with my family during these uncertain times (daughter number 2 even came to some of my classes when she was a baby!).
You can find out more by following me on Instagram @tinytalksuttoncoldfield
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