Tiny Talk teaching babies to use sign language in Canterbury, Whitstable and Faversham

Babies are being taught sign language before they can speak to give them a fighting chance of communicating early-on with their parents.

Mums and dads in Canterbury, Whitstable, and Faversham are taking their children to classes run by Tiny Talk Kent, where teachers use learn and play to introduce the signs.

Watch KMTV visiting a Tiny Talk session

Deborah Hart, 44, began running classes after taking her own children years before.

One of the biggest misconceptions she faces is that only babies who are hard of hearing or deaf need to attend the sessions.

She said: "About 85% of our children have absolutely no hearing impairment at all but benefit in amazing ways from using the signs.

"These children are able to explain to their parents they're hungry or tired, or that they need a new nappy."

Mrs Hart was inspired to start classes after taking her own children
Mrs Hart was inspired to start classes after taking her own children

The classes mix play and singing with the signs themselves, in a way that will hopefully encourage the babies to start communicating with their hands.

Kim Newman's daughter, Charlotte, is only 11 months old and regularly uses the signs to talk to her mum.

The 31-year-old said: "She can already tell me without speaking that she wants milk, when she's hungry, and when she wants to go home."

Mrs Newman also took her eldest child to sign classes as a baby, and she still sometimes uses the signs even now she can talk.

She said: "It's really helped with communication and them being able to express themselves."

Jess Britton brings her 10-month-old daughter Kora to the classes each week, and whilst the tot has not used the signs much yet, her mum hopes to see the benefits later down the line.

Kim Newman's daughter Charlotte is already signing to communicate
Kim Newman's daughter Charlotte is already signing to communicate

She said: "It must be pretty frustrating if you need something and you can't ask in any other way other than crying."

Aside from the benefits of communicating, the Tiny Talk teachers also believe the environment of the classes can be a positive place for new parents.

The sessions are split in half between learning and socialising, which gives them the chance to talk with each other and share their experiences.

Mrs Hart said: "Being a mum can be really scary and isolating; you can feel out of your depth quite a lot of the time.

"Being in this kind of setting where there's other people feeling the same things and your child's having fun in a comfortable environment is a lovely thing to be part of."

For more family-related news and events please visit www.mykentfamily.co.uk

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