A local woman believes she has found a fun way to give babies a head start on communicating.
Brianna Lopez of Bemus Point is an independent certified instructor for Baby Signs, Inc. She launched her business, Baby Signs with Brianna, recently and is hosting workshops in the coming months.
"I teach parents how to communicate with their hearing babies using sign language," said Lopez, who became interested in baby sign language while working at a preschool in Arizona that utilized the technique. She was impressed at how quickly the children learned.
Brianna Lopez, an independent certified instructor for Baby Signs, Inc., goes over bedtime signs with children and their parents at a workshop at the Prendergast Library recently.
"The kids were getting potty trained so young," Lopez said. "I found out I was pregnant with my son, and I was like, 'I want to do baby signs with my baby.' I started learning all the signs. Then, I stumbled upon Baby Signs, Inc. on the Internet."
After moving to Western New York, Lopez wanted to register her son in Baby Signs, Inc. classes. However, she couldn't find any.
"I thought I could just start something," she said. "It's so special. The first time I was nursing my son, he looked up at me and made the sign for milk. It's like they're saying their first word. It's so fun, and it reduces a lot of crying and frustration."
In Lopez's classes, parents and their babies learn food-related signs, including those for "eat," "milk," "more" and "all done." They also learn other signs related to babies' needs and interests.
Signing helps the babies in the long run, according to Lopez.
"Crawling is to walking as signing is to talking," she said. "Some people think that signing is going to delay talking, but it's actually the opposite. Once (babies) get a taste of communicating, they're more excited about talking."
Lopez recommends her classes for parents of babies ages 24 months and younger.
"Obviously, at birth, the kids aren't going to start signing; that's more for parent education," Lopez said, noting that some children start signing around age 8 months. "I think there's a lot of pressure on parents to jump on the next trend. I'm not saying baby singing is a trend. I don't feel like parents should feel like they have to do it. But, I do think it's something that's really fun for parents to do with their kids. It kind of gives you a window into their world. You can see what they're thinking about, what their needs are. It's a special bond."
Lopez will hold a parent workshop Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lakewood Memorial Library. She'll teach the what, where, when and how of baby signing.
She will also hold a Sign, Say and Play class in Bemus Point on Tuesdays from Sept. 18 to Oct. 23 from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.
"It's a play class," she said. "It's over a six-week period, 45-minutes a week. There's music, singing, socializing, and it's fun."
Parents and their babies will learn six to seven signs each week under various themes, including "mealtime," "bedtime," "bath time," "dressing," "my pets" and "at the park."
For more information on the parent workshop or Sign, Say and Play class, email LopezBabySigns@gmail.com or call 969-5469. Pre-registration is required.
Those who register will do more than learn, according to Lopez.
"The more you do in life, the more stressed out you get and the more you experience, you realize that if it's fun do it, and if it's not, don't bother," she said, "and signing with your baby is definitely fun."