It used to be that when someone mentioned baby sign language you’d get blank faces. It was something that wasn’t discussed that often, and many people thought it was just a fad for the “Super Mom.” But baby sign language is becoming more common. It is a great way to communicate with your baby before your child can verbally tell you what he or she needs, plus it paves the way to more bonding between parent and child. If you are interested in learning about signing with your baby, this article will give you the basics on how to do it in a relatively simple way.
#1: Pick Simple Words to Sign
It’s understandable that you want to go all gung ho with your baby, teaching him or her to sign elaborate words and having conversations via sign language, but that is not how it goes. Your baby is limited in what he or she can learn in the beginning. Keep it short and sweet with words like “Eat,” “Drink,” “Toy,” etc., instead of stuff like “Eating Dinner” or “Drink in a Cup.” It is also best to pick words for items that they are already familiar with.
#2: Start with Only a Couple of Words
As tempting as it may be, don’t try to teach babies more than a couple of words at a time. They need time to get used to a word, and if you teach them five at a time they probably aren’t going to get it. You have a better chance of them learning if you start with one or two.
#3: Use Sign Language Often
Use sign language every time you say the word you want your baby to learn. If you only do it half the time, your baby isn’t going to pick it up. If you are making your child something to eat, sign eat and say it also. When you place the food in front of your baby, sign eat again. If your baby’s drinking something, sign drink a few times while he or she drinks. Eventually your child will pick up sign language for the items you are teaching if you use the word in your everyday interaction.
#4: Speak & Sign
Talk to your child every time you sign. It will help children put the word better into their mind if you sign and speak the word, plus it will help them learn to speak, which is every parent’s goal. For example, if you want them to learn to sign “Mommy” then verbally say “Mommy” every time you sign the word.
#5: Be Patient
Be patient with your infant. Your baby isn’t going to start mimicking sign language the minute you start doing it. It could be several days or even weeks before baby tries to do the same hand motions that you do. The key is that you be patient and do the motions over and over again, even if you think that your infant will never pick them up.
“Teaching Baby Sign Language,” Babies and Sign Language.