I was blessed this Thanksgiving with the chance to spend the day with my two 18-month-old, twin grandchildren—Nate and Olivia. What a treat! The fact that they are signing up a storm made it especially exciting. Nate was enchanted with the flowers on the table, on the napkins, and on the buffet, pointing and sniffing—his sign for flower; Olivia was enchanted with the food, as usual, and made good use of the “more” sign.
The chance to be with them and watch them sign brought to mind the fact that grandparents make ideal teachers of signs—whether it be to their own grandchildren or to other children in their communities. The reason is that the experience of raising their own children enables them to recognize how helpful signs are in avoiding the tears and tantrums that arise when infants and toddlers need to communicate but simply can’t.
Grandparents also tend to have the patience and wisdom that come with years of dealing with people of all ages, enabling them to approach both parents and children with confidence and caring. Finally, from their life experiences they truly understand that successful communication fosters love and understanding—a wonderful gift for any grandparent to give--and to receive.
That’s why we are pleased that more and more grandparents are joining our Baby Signs Independent Certified Instructor (ICI) team. Our ICI program enables individuals to set their own hours and work as much or as little as they want, all the time earning income while helping families and childcare centers enjoy all the benefits that signing can bring.
Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Co-founder of the Baby Signs Program