Baby Sign Language can be a fun and effective way for you and your baby to communicate. It can help ease frustration between parents and baby. Starting around 8 months, children start to mimic gestures like waving goodbye which they have learned from watching their parents. It is also a time when they start to know what they want but aren’t talking yet to express themselves. Showing your baby sign language and practicing with them is a good way to spend time bonding with your child. Although your baby may not sign until 8 months, you can start showing them the gestures at 6 months. To get the most out of baby sign language, here are a few tips to make it fun and beneficial for both of you.
Keep your expectations realistic. You can start signing with your baby from the start as you are talking to them, even earlier than 6 months if you like! They probably won’t be able to sign back until about 8 months or older but they are still learning during that time, just like any other language. Your baby may take time to use the signs correctly so be patient!
Sign regularly and often. To improve their success at signing, do it regularly and make it a habit. Signing daily and regularly will help your baby learn, instead of a one-time lesson.
Teach signs for practical, daily activities. Useful signs such as hunger, milk, more, all done, mommy, and daddy are good for you and your baby to know. Signs for common objects in your baby’s environment are also useful.
Include others in your baby’s world of signing. This includes grandparents, siblings, caregivers, family, and friends who interact with your baby. You can give them a quick lesson on the signs your baby knows so they can also communicate with them.
Respond promptly to your baby’s signage. If your baby is asking for milk, or indicates they are done eating, respond to promptly to encourage them to learn and use the signs.
Continue talking and interacting verbally with your baby. Even though you are communicating with your baby with sign language, it is important to keep talking to your baby to continue verbal development. You can sign and say the word to your baby so they knows that the word is. Signing will not interfere with verbal development as long as you keep talking to your baby.
Let your baby sign off. Follow your baby’s cues when they are not wanting to sign or are feeling frustrated. Don’t pressure or force your baby to sign. Let them learn at their own pace and when they are in the mood,.
Keep it fun. The most valuable part of signing is the time you spend with your baby. Make it an experience both of you enjoy.
Baby Sign Language is a fun and interactive way for parents and babies to bond. It can help reduce the frustration between parents and baby during the time when children don’t yet have the verbal skills to communicate. The American Academy of Pediatrics approves of Baby Sign Language as a means for parents and babies to communicate between the ages of 8 months and 2 years (when children start to verbally communicate their thoughts). The AAP also approves of signing as a fun way to strengthen the bond between parents and babies. A Baby Sign Language Class is a great way for you and your baby to have fun together, and learn another way to communicate. Kathleen Ann Harper and William Paul White are the authors of the well known book Signs of a Happy Baby. They have partnered with Healthy Horizons to provide group classes and private classes upon request. Learn to sign with your baby with these esteemed authors as your instructors in our Healthy Horizons Baby Sign Language class!
“Baby Sign Language: Does It Work?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-sign-language-does-it-work.
Hoecker, M.D. Jay L. “Baby Sign Language: A Good Idea?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Mar. 2016, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/baby-sign-language/faq-20057980.
“These Hands Were Made for Talking.” HealthyChildren.org, www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/These-Hands-Were-Made-for-Talking.aspx.