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Author Topic: More baby questions....
RivalOfTheRose
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1) Does anyone recommendend the baby sign-language educational DVDs? How old would you start if you could?

2) What about introducing technology such as iPads? I am sure there are kid-friendly/educational apps out there.

Thanks in advance!

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Stone_Wolf_
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My 2 year old daughter and 3 year old son love their android tablet! ($100)

There is an app called "kid mode" which disables all programs but the ones you okay! There are literally thousands of free educational apps out there.

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Stephan
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1) None to recommend. Just make sure you put time into it. It really isn't for two earner families.

2) Like in the tv thread, everything in moderation. Not long after 12 months my daughter was using an iPhone to go through photos, her favorite thing for a while. (How will memory be affected when kids spend their entire lives looking at their entire life?) Starfall is now in the apple app store, making it much easier to navigate than a mouse and computer. There are tons of flash card apps, she always loved the animal ones. I jail broke my iPad and iPhone and installed app locker which sets a password on individual apps. Apple needs to make that a legit function.

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RivalOfTheRose
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Stone Wolf, my mom bought us a kid friendly ipad case, to help increase its longevity.

Stephan, can you further explain the jail break? Also, that's interesting to think about the memory topic.

Thanks for the responses!

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Xavier
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quote:
Does anyone recommendend the baby sign-language educational DVDs? How old would you start if you could?
We didn't use any official DVDs or anything, but we did have this kid-centric book on signs. My mother-in-law used to be a sign language interpreter, so if we don't know a sign we ask her how to do it. YouTube also works for this though, or other sites.

So our son doesn't "know sign language", but he does have a bunch of signs he knows and uses. Probably around 35 known, with maybe 10 actively in use. For instance, he still signs "uncle" when we talk about my wife's brother. Its very cute.

I don't think its an all or nothing thing. I don't get why Stephen says its not for two earner families. Even if the kid learns just the signs for "milk", "water", "food", "mommy", "daddy", "more", and "all-done", it makes it a lot easier for them to communicate what they want. Teaching a handful of signs isn't all that time consuming.

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Stephan
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I could be wrong about how much time you need. It is what i was told. Xavier, how old was your son when he started learning the signs? Do you know of any studies about how it affects speech development, either positive or negative? You have me curious about it now.

Iclarified.com is a good place to check out tutorials on jail breaking. If you upgraded to ios 6 or higher it can be a pain with only a tethered jailbreak.

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Xavier
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quote:
Xavier, how old was your son when he started learning the signs?
You know, I could guess, but I'm worried about being way off (in either direction). It was well before he could talk, though (and long before the development charts expect them to start talking).

Teaching some signs is pretty easy. You just do the sign when you ask the question. Then eventually they do the sign to you when they want to express that thought. "Do you want more?" *sign more* "Do you want milk?" *sign milk*. "All done?" *sign all-done* Really, those three signs were the ones that paid dividends. They were the first he learned.

quote:
Do you know of any studies about how it affects speech development, either positive or negative?
I don't, I'm afraid. Our rationale was that if he can sign what he wants, it'd make things easier for us. I think half the stress of parenting an infant is not knowing what they want so that you can give it to them. So any help there must be good, right?

If there exist studies where its shown to have negative impact, I'd be interesting in seeing them. We have a second child on the way, and I'm sure we'll do the same stuff if there's not a legit reason not to.

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Hank
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I'm a nanny, and here's my take:

I like the baby signing time series. The songs will absolutely drive you bananas, but they are very repetitive and engaging. As with any video, though, a very young child would learn the information faster and better through interaction with an actual human, not a screen. TV can be educational, but a 5-minute song teaching your child the sign for "more" isn't going to be as effective as you playing a 5-minute game that teaches the same thing. My point is that you can't expect the signs to be mostly taught by video. The video is a support for the lessons and practice offered by caregivers.

The studies of baby sign so far tend to indicate that it isn't associated with the delays that bilingual children tend to suffer, and can have some of the benefits (bilingual children often learn language slower, but with a deeper instinctive understanding of linguistics). Those studies are all of families doing hard-core baby sign (starting at 3-4 months, mom, dad, and other caregivers all consistently using the signs, etc.) so there's less evidence to support that it has major benefits for the casual user. My personal experience has been that it can have a big impact on the emotional and social development of the child to be able to communicate at least basic needs and wants. My must-have list would be "toilet" or "diaper," "more," "all-done," "milk," "eat," and "lovey" or a specific name for your child's transition object/lovey.

As for the apps, the AAP guidelines lump TV, video games, computer games, and anything else games together under the heading of "screen time," and the guidelines are the same for all. I tend to think that is a bit old-fashioned, but a good rule of thumb for apps is the same rule of thumb I use to evaluate toys. Active toy=passive child, passive toy=active child. For toy purchases, this means that a toy that plays a song every time you touch it is going to be less stimulating than a toy piano that plays a single note with each touch, which is less stimulating than a set of bells with different notes. The more work it takes to make it "go," the better, especially for very young toddlers. For apps and games, I think the same principle can be applied. I tend to shy away from using screens in general, just because I prefer other ways to interact and see no great benefit, but I would look for games or apps that require the child to do something to elicit a response. The more "something" they have to do, the better.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:

quote:
Do you know of any studies about how it affects speech development, either positive or negative?
I don't, I'm afraid. Our rationale was that if he can sign what he wants, it'd make things easier for us. I think half the stress of parenting an infant is not knowing what they want so that you can give it to them. So any help there must be good, right?

If there exist studies where its shown to have negative impact, I'd be interesting in seeing them. We have a second child on the way, and I'm sure we'll do the same stuff if there's not a legit reason not to.

It seems unlikely that teaching a small organized system to a non-verbal child would have any negative impact. Parents typically have an ad hoc signing system *anyway*, and depending on the culture, this can carry over into normal speech patterns. Czechs for instance, typically employ a large amount of signs with children because the grammar lacks a lot of prepositions, and it can be difficult for children to pick up on commands at an early age. I constantly see parents signing to children with an ad hoc system for that reason, or because the culture is just more physically expressive. I doubt there is any real downside to it.
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RivalOfTheRose
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Hank, that was a very thorough answer, thank you.
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brojack17
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
Does anyone recommendend the baby sign-language educational DVDs? How old would you start if you could?
We didn't use any official DVDs or anything, but we did have this kid-centric book on signs. My mother-in-law used to be a sign language interpreter, so if we don't know a sign we ask her how to do it. YouTube also works for this though, or other sites.

So our son doesn't "know sign language", but he does have a bunch of signs he knows and uses. Probably around 35 known, with maybe 10 actively in use. For instance, he still signs "uncle" when we talk about my wife's brother. Its very cute.

I don't think its an all or nothing thing. I don't get why Stephen says its not for two earner families. Even if the kid learns just the signs for "milk", "water", "food", "mommy", "daddy", "more", and "all-done", it makes it a lot easier for them to communicate what they want. Teaching a handful of signs isn't all that time consuming.

This is exactly what we did. Thing 1 was a point and scream kind of kid. It was nice for her to be able to tell me "cookie" or "cracker" or "fish" (goldfish). We never bought a book. Just went to a website when we needed a new word. Ours was the same. Knew about 30-40 words that helped us get by.

http://www.handspeak.com/

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advice for robots
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Our 2-year-old absolutely loves the iphone and loves being on the computer, even if it's signed out and all she can do is type dots into the password field. She learned how to use a touch screen probably not much past 1, and how to use a mouse not long after that.

Although there are a ton of educational games and apps available, we have to be very careful not to let a screen become her babysitter. The same is true for all of our kids. I don't think the screen is necessarily evil, but it can become a crutch and a time sucker way too easily. If we're being lazy, we can lose entire afternoons or evenings that we could and should have spent with our kids, letting them watch TV or play computer instead.

IMO, the best educational show or software is an incredibly poor substitute for face-to-face play or talk time. Definitely use screen time in strict moderation.

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Stone_Wolf_
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While I agree the lure of "quiet time" due to little eyes and fingers glued to screen is something that has to be monitored, I don't agree with this statement as written:
quote:
the best educational show or software is an incredibly poor substitute for face-to-face play or talk time.
My children's verbal and problem solving skills have greatly benefited with screen time.
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advice for robots
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Sure, for learning specific subjects, there are some great shows and software out there. Our oldest daughter in particular benefited greatly from various educational computer games we had.

I'm talking more about trying to feel good about leaving your kid in front of the screen because at least what they're watching or clicking is "educational." IMO, time spent with him or her talking or playing with no screens on is always more valuable--maybe not for learning a specific subject, but for so many other areas of your kid's (and yours) growth and development, not to mention your relationship.

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