Baby signing is a great early activity for mom and baby to do together. It’s fun, it’s free – and best of all it helps with bonding and reduces tantrums. It’s easy to get started with baby sign language – read on to find out how…
Start at any time: You can start at any time, even from birth. The sooner you start to sign with your baby the sooner he can start signing back. If your baby is older it’s still worthwhile learning to sign. Even by the time your child can say a few simple words you may find that learning baby sign language helps him communicate and reduces frustration.
Start simply: Pick a few simple signs and concentrate on these signs over and over again. Popular choices as starter signs are Mommy, Daddy, and Milk, as these signs represent something really interesting to baby.
Repeat often: Lots of repetition is important. Use the sign and say the word often every day. With older babies you can also use Flash Cards to help your child picture the object.
Be patient: Don’t expect baby to start signing immediately. Most babies over the age of six months need about two months of exposure to a sign before they will begin to use it themselves.
Use encouragement: Encourage all your baby’s efforts at signing, even if you don’t know what sign your baby is trying to make! Use eye contact, a positive tone of voice, lots of cuddles and bags of attention to show baby you are very proud of his efforts.
Expand your vocabulary: When you and baby have mastered your first few signs you can begin to introduce new ones. Stick to groups of similar signs when introducing a new set of signs, for example food, colors, emotions (happy, sad, angry etc), or animals.
Make it fun: Baby sign language is all about having fun with your baby and communicating in a relaxed, loving atmosphere. Don’t take it too seriously – if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!
Go to a class: if you want to! Classes are a great way to learn baby sign language. If there is one near you, and you enjoy it, then take baby along. A good baby signing class will be fun, repeating and building on a foundation of simple signs before moving on to new ones.
Do it at home: If you can’t find a class nearby, don’t worry. There are tons of free resources on the Internet for you to download and print for use at home. Try to get hold of some Flash Cards and a wall chart to refer to when you need to learn a new sign – or mug up on an old one.
Get Dad involved: Baby sign language is not only for moms. Dads can sometimes feel left out with a new baby, and signing is a great activity for dads and babies to do together.
Baby Sign Language is a site full of free tips, flash cards, and helpful ideas on how to get started with your bundle of joy.