Wednesday, August 11, 2010

guest post: baby sign language

We did some sign language with Hadley when she was little.  Milk. More. Cereal. Baby. Bubbles. Eat. Drink. Just to name a few. And I wanted to teach her more, but she started talking pretty well, so we moved on from the sign language.  But while she was using it, it was certainly beneficial. Now Hayden is here and while she is little, I've started using these basic signs with her.

So when Chief Editor at Baby Sign Language, Misty Weaver reached out to me to run a guest post on my blog, I happily accepted it. Without really having to think about it. I think signing is that great.  Enjoy and good luck!

Is My Baby Too Young To Learn Baby Signing?

Baby signing is a great early activity for mom and baby to do together. As Mom needs to learn the signs first – and then repeat them lots and lots to baby – it doesn’t really matter too much if baby is a little young when you first start signing. 

When To Start
The sooner you start signing to your baby, the sooner he will begin to communicate her needs back to you. You can start at any time, even from birth. If you have an older baby, you can still start to sign with her at any time. Even when your child has started to say a few simple words you may find that learning to sign helps her with her communication. 

How To Start
The key is to pick a few simple signs, such as Mommy, Daddy, and Milk, and concentrate on using these signs over and over. Repetition is really important, as is choosing signs which are interesting to your baby. Use the sign and say the word clearly. With older babies you can use flash cards to help if the object of the sign is not present.

When Will My Baby Start Signing
Be patient and don’t expect your baby to start signing immediately. You should encourage all her efforts at signing, even if you don’t recognize the sign your baby is trying to make. Any effort is great – she is trying to communicate with you. Most babies over the age of six months will need about two months of exposure and repetition of a sign before they begin to use it. So if you start signing with your baby when she is seven months old, she will most likely be using one of your favorite signs by the age of nine months. 

How To Develop Their Signing Vocabulary
When your baby has mastered their first few signs you can begin to introduce new ones. It’s a good idea to stick to groups of similar ideas or objects when introducing something new, for example food signs, or colors, or emotions. Remember, make it fun and repeat, repeat, repeat. Encourage your baby’s efforts at making the signs. Only introduce a few new signs at a time, and continue with these for around two months.

Do I Need To Go To A Class?
This all depends on your personal preference and where you live. If you have a class near to you, and you enjoy it, then classes are a great way to learn. Good baby signing classes will follow the advice given above – making it fun, repeating signs and building a base of simple signs before moving on to new ones, and encouraging the efforts of the babies and the moms! If you can’t find a class don’t worry – there are loads of resources online for you to use at home. Have fun, repeat and encourage – these are your steps to success no matter how young your baby. 

This guest post is brought to you by
Baby Sign LanguageWe are site dedicated to helping parents use signing as a way to communicate with their baby. Visit the site for all the FREE resources.

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1 comment:

  1. I started signing with my daughter around 4 months, and she began to sign back around 10 months. She was so excited that she could communicate her needs/wants to us and get the proper reaction. It really worked well.

    She is now 19 months and still uses signs to communicate. She understands everything but does not say many actual words. People are telling me it's because I sign with her. They are treating it like it is a bad thing. I am not the least bit concerned; she will talk when she is ready. GIving a child the ability/power to communicate is never a bad thing as far as I am concerned.


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