Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a baby’s head? Or watched as your child throws their plate of food on the floor in disgust and wished they could have politely said “no, thank you,” instead? As a mother, I watched other parents teach their babies sign language and did not think much of it. Only when our daughter became frustrated with the communication barrier between us did I realize how useful sign language could be.
Children know what they want far sooner than they can communicate their thoughts. On average, research shows that babies between the ages of 6-8 months can connect words and desires to signs. In this edition of TRIO, you will find some tips to make teaching sign language a breeze.
Every time you say something, sign along with it. When you ask your baby if they want more food, make the sign with your hands. By consistently saying the word, command or request, you are helping your baby form the connection between that word and the sign.
The earlier you commit to teaching your baby sign language, the better. However, just because you start teaching your baby sign language at six months does not mean they will sign back immediately. Every baby is different and will develop and learn at their own pace. Making sign language part of your daily routine early on will make it a natural communication method when your baby is ready.
Deciding where to start can be overwhelming. In the beginning, choose the signs that pair with words used frequently. It is often recommended to teach mealtime words such as “more,” “drink,” “all done” and “thank you.” Other signs that may come easily are “mom,” “dad,” “grandmother,” “grandfather,” “hello” and “goodbye.”
If you’d like to learn more about teaching your baby sign language, sign up for our short course, Signing for Infants. The class will cover everyday ways to implement sign language to hearing infants before they can speak. To register call 405.377.3333. To find out about more courses like this, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.