Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest Blog Post: How to Teach a Baby Sign Language

Enjoy this fabulous guest post about baby sign language:

How To Teach A Baby Sign Language

Baby sign language is easy to learn – all it takes is lots of repetition and patience. With a little bit of know-how, you can start teaching your baby to sign today.

When To Start Signing
The sooner you start signing with your baby the sooner she will communicate her needs back to you. You can start teaching Baby Sign Language at any time – even from birth. If you have an older baby or toddler you can still begin to teach her to sign at any time. Even if your child has already started to say a few simple words you may find that learning to sign helps her with her communication and frustration.

How To Start Teaching Baby Sign Language
To start, pick a few simple signs, such as Mommy, Daddy, and Milk, and then concentrate on using these signs over and over with your baby. Repetition is key, as is choosing signs which are interesting to your baby. Use the sign and say the word clearly each time you come into contact with the object – for Milk, you would sign before, after and during feeding, saying and signing Milk. 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 Back?
Be patient when you are teaching Baby Sign Language and don’t expect your baby to start signing immediately. You should encourage all her efforts, even if you don’t recognize the sign she is trying to make! Most babies over the age of six months need about two months of exposure to 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. Remember, all babies learn at their own pace.

Develop Their Signing Vocabulary
When your baby has mastered her first few signs you can 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, colors, or animals. Remember to keep it fun and repeat, repeat, repeat each sign. Encourage your baby’s efforts. Only introduce a few new signs at a time, and continue with each for around two months.

Do I Need To Go To A Baby Sign Language Class?
This all depends on your personal preference and where you live. If you have a class nearby and you enjoy it, then classes are a great way to learn and make friends. Good Baby Signing classes follow the advice above – making learning fun, repeating signs and building a base of simple signs before moving on to new ones. If you can’t find a class don’t worry as there are stacks of resources online for you to use at home. Have fun, repeat and encourage – these are your steps to success.

Post written by Misty Weaver Chief Editor, Baby Sign Language

1 comment:

  1. Baby signs are wonderful! (Though I may be a bit professionally biased.) I'm so glad you discovered it.

    Amy Kidd