Using Music and Signing in Tandem

Do you sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to your little one? Most of us do because we can easily remember those lullabies from our childhood quite easily.

Babies respond well to music and especially soft melodies like these because they are calming and the world around them can be a bit much to take in. Simply giving your child’s brain a new direction of focus can alleviate the stress a baby feels from their environment.

As parents we need all kinds of tools at our disposal to get through those rough patches of a baby’s crying fits. Singing can be one of the easiest tools to utilize, and for parents who have been SIGNING together with singing, they report a quicker response of calm in comforting their baby.

I first discovered this with my first baby, Amberly. She was what is lovingly referred to as a high needs baby (as opposed to high maintenance baby) and she was also very alert, meaning she had a hard time tuning things out and would become over stimulated. By singing and signing to her I found I could focus her attention on one thing, the song. There is something about the tactile experience of the movement associated with the songs that probably made a deeper imprint in your brain.

As a new mom I didn’t know a lot of lullabies, but I knew the ABCs and Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star just fine… so I sang and signed those… a lot! It seemed to make sense that since I was already signing with her to be able to communicate with Grandma (my mom is deaf) that I would use ASL rather than gestures.

There’s one reason I love a rainy day – the chance to sing and sign Itsy Bitsy Spider with the kids, both at home and in my classes! Enjoy this video demonstration – remember – few of us are born with star quality voices, but our kiddos enjoy it so sing and sign away!

Published on: March 08, 2012
About the Author
Photo of Joann Woolley

Joann Woolley is a Master Level Instructor in the Signing Time Academy. ASL is her first language (her mother is deaf) and her first sign was MILK. Both her fluency in ASL and understanding of ASL culture provide an insight to the language that opens the eyes of her students.

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