Way back when my now 17yo was an infant, we were introduced to Baby Sign Language. This is an amazing way for little ones to communicate before their verbal skills have developed. Teaching my boys signs for words like-please, thank-you, milk, more and all done made life around our house much more enjoyable and there was a lot less whining and crying.
Today we have a guest post from Misty Weaver, Chief Editor BabySignLanguage.com. I hop you enjoy this post and check out her website for more in depth information.
Baby sign language is an easy and fun way to communicate with your pre-verbal baby. A simplified version of American Sign Language (ASL), it is easy to learn and easy to teach to your baby or toddler. To make a start, all you need to do is learn some simple signs.
How To Get Started
Okay, first let’s learn some fun and easy signs.
- MOMMY: To make the sign for Mommy, extend and spread your fingers apart on your right hand. With your little finger facing forwards, tap your thumb on your chin. Mommy.
- DADDY: To make the sign for Daddy, extend and spread out the fingers on your right hand, then tap your hand on your forehead with your thumb. This is similar to the sign for Mommy but done higher up the head. Daddy.
- MILK: The sign for Milk is a lot like the action of milking a cow without the up and down motion. Just pretend you are just squeezing the cow’s udder. Make both hands into a fist, relax and repeat. Milk.
- MORE: To make the sign for More, make an O shape with each hand by meeting your fingers and thumbs. Bring your hands together and separate them a few times. More.
How To Teach The Signs To Your Baby
You need to make the sign every time you say the relevant word to your baby. As well as signing, it’s also important to say the word that goes with the sign clearly, making good eye contact, while pointing to the object or person you are describing. Sign when your baby is alert and not too tired, using an object which is exciting to him, such as Milk or Mummy. Practice the signs beforehand so you feel confident about what you are doing.
Repetition Is The Key
Repetition is the key to Teaching Baby Sign Language to your baby. Be sure to make the sign and say the word every time you do an action or use an object. You should find ways to build Baby Signing into your day so signing becomes second-nature. Your baby will learn the signs through repetition (and so will you), and eventually it will be natural for him to sign back.
Be Patient With Your Baby And Yourself
Don’t expect too much too soon. Your baby is unlikely to be signing for more milk if he is only 4 months old and you’ve been signing to him for a week! Research by Dr. Joseph Garcia, one of the founders of Sign Language For Babies, found that a typical baby who starts learning signs at seven months old needs about two months of repetition and exposure to a sign to start using it.