How to introduce baby sign language
Guest post by Misty Weaver, editor of www.babysignlanguage.com
Baby sign language is a way of teaching your baby to communicate by way of special hand gestures. It’s fun, it’s free, and best of all it really works! Based on ASL (American Sign Language), baby sign language it is a simplified version for babies and young children. You can start to sign with your baby from birth – or sooner. Many moms learn the basic signs while baby is still in the womb, so they’re ready to go. The important things with baby sign language are to be consistent, have fun, repeat the signs as often as you can, and have a lot of patience.
How To Start With Baby Sign Language
It’s best to start with signs that you can introduce on a daily basis. Signs like Mommy, Daddy, Milk and More are great for beginners. More is often the first sign a baby learns! Signs that represent something which exciting or interesting to your baby will be easier for him or her to learn. Begin with these starter signs then build up your repertoire to include other objects, ideas and emotions.
How To Sign To Your Baby
Practice the signs beforehand so you feel confident and clear about what you are doing. You need to make the sign every time you say the relevant word to your baby. Say the word that goes with the sign clearly, with good eye contact, while pointing to the thing or person you are describing. It’s important to repeat the sign as often as possible. Be sure to sign when your baby is alert and not tired.
Make It Fun
Baby sign language can be an important part of communication for parents and babies, but it works best when you make it fun. Don’t take signing too seriously. Sign as part of your everyday routine and enjoy it! If you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong. Baby will only pick up the signs and want to use them if he or she sees that you are enjoying signing too.
Don’t expect too much from your baby – or yourself – too soon. Your baby is unlikely to be signing for milk if only four months old and you’ve been signing together for a week! Research by Dr. Joseph Garcia, one of the founders of Baby Sign Language, 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.
Basic Starter Signs To Get You Going
- To sign Mommy extend and spread apart your fingers. With your pinkie facing forward, tap your thumb on your chin. This is the sign for Mommy.
- To sign Daddy, extend and spread out your five fingers on your strong hand. Tap your hand on your forehead. Done right you will look like a turkey.
- The sign for Milk is a lot like milking a cow, but without the vertical motion – you are just squeezing the udder. Take both hands, make them into a fist, relax, and repeat.
- For More, flatten out your hands then bring your thumbs under to make an O shape. Then, bring your hands together and separate them repeatedly. Baby will often simplify “more” by clapping their fists together.
Dear friends, don’t you love that the sign for “Daddy” looks like a turkey? Ha! We started using a few signs with Levi around 6.5 months old… He definitely understands what we’re saying, but has yet to sign back. (He’s now 8.5 months.) And you? What is your experience? Have you used baby sign language? Considered introducing it?