Makaton is a communication system that uses a combination of speech, signs, and symbols to help people with communication difficulties, like speech and language impairments, learning disabilities, or other communication challenges.
Makaton is sometimes used with babies and very young children to support their early communication and language development. It provides a way for babies to express their needs, wants, and feelings using gestures and signs. This can reduce frustration for both the baby and its parents by understanding the baby’s signals better.
Using Makaton can also encourage bonding since it requires face-to-face engagement, eye contact, and joint attention. Using it alongside spoken language can reinforce the connection between words and their meanings. Babies learn that certain signs mean specific words, which can facilitate their language development as they transition to spoken communication.
You can start by learning simple signs for mum, dad, milk, eat and I love you!
To learn Makaton look for local baby sign language baby groups or classes such as Baby Sensory that specialise in it, and TV shows like Mr Tumble on CBeebies is great. The Makaton Charity offers many free resources for learning Makaton.
The most important thing is to be patient and repeat a few simple signs over and over until you and your baby get the hang of it.
We know how important the first 1000 days of a baby’s life in terms of communication development. At Mum & You we believe reading stories and chatting during change time and playtime can make a big difference in our babies’ lives, so to help inspire you (because let’s be honest, sometimes we’re too exhausted to know what to say!) we created a playful tribe of characters that you will find on our Mum & You eco-nappies. Through them we want to help you bond with your baby at change time and beyond.
We hope this inspires you to try Makton!
Team Mum & You xx