Series Post: Is Your Bilingual Baby Confused? (And How Can Sign Language Help?!)

The question this week: Is Guapa confused?

This has been the most common question that we’ve received about our decision and daily lifestyle of exposing Guapa to both Spanish and English first as a baby and now as a toddler.

My one second answer to this question? NO!

My ten second answer? Guapa knows exactly what she wants to communicate and she has three languages to use!

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As mentioned in a previous post, Tico and I tried to be proactive about potential language confusion by adding a third language to the mix: sign language. Guapa has adapted well to using lots of gestures to communicate what she wants (at 20 months, she had 65 signs!), and the best part is that her gestures are not limited to just pointing and grunting at us. The gestures she uses are real signs (or at least her own version of the signs!) and we are also able to use those signs to reinforce what we are saying to her in Spanish.

Sign language is a wonderful bridge between the two languages, I must say. While she learns these signs from her Baby Signing Time videos in English (again, see this post), we use the signs to reinforce Spanish vocabulary for the same things she is trying to identify. She uses those gestures so fluidly now that other friends and family we might be spending time with don’t even notice the subtle ways that Guapa communicates with us.

More examples of sign language moments:

While in a waiting room recently, she told me she was eyeing the flowers on the receptionist’s desk with one sign: flower. No spoken words needed.

I told her we were going to change her diaper to which she did the diaper sign and tried repeating after me in Spanish pañal with her spoken version: pañ.

She loves washing her hands and brushing her teeth and is quick to tell me she’s ready with both signs.

So again, is she confused? Not at all! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post: What is the sponge stage?

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