Sing and Sign are encouraging parents to use simple signs with their little ones to encourage communication and expression of needs with babies as young as 4 months old.

Often communicating with a baby is difficult. There’s perhaps the biggest, and sometimes most frustrating, language barrier imaginable: you can talk, they cannot (yet).

But Rachel Carberry at Sing and Sign has spent over 20 years developing a way for parents and their little ones to communicate effectively. We all know that babies pick up on certain well-known gestures, such as a wave goodbye or an excitable hand clap. But Rachel encourages parents to introduce new signs for ‘milk’, ‘tired’, ‘change nappy’ and many more.

But how do they teach these signs? That’s where the singing comes in. By using simple songs to express simple ideas like ‘bath time’, ‘hiding games’, or ‘bedtime’, these babies begin associating the words with the sign, and become increasingly able to express themselves. 

Having weathered the storm throughout lockdown, Sing and Sign have continued to give their support and guidance to people across B&NES and beyond. Though some changes have been made to the classes to allow the adults to be socially distanced, the core philosophy remains the same: the baby leads the process, as every baby is different.

Sing and Sign has an increasingly global reach, with faculties in the Orkney Islands, Copenhagen and New Zealand to name a few. This is testament to the closeness between parent and child that Sing and Sign promotes; and evidence of universal power of signing. 

Words by Jonathan R Parsonage