The best place to practice Baby Sign Language is everywhere you are with your baby.
You can begin signing with your baby soon after birth, so you may want to start practicing during pregnancy. Keep in mind, baby may not be able to sign back until after they are 4-9 months old. Remember – all babies develop differently and it may take time for baby to understand signs and sign back.
So, where do you start practicing sign language with your baby? That is easy, start naturally as you interact with your child. When you are feeding your baby sign “MILK” and then as they transition to food sign “EAT“. As you are laying them down for a nap sign “SLEEP“. Other great signs to start with are “MOM“, “DAD“, “MORE“, “PLEASE“, “THANK YOU“, and “FINISHED/ALL DONE” in your daily interactions with your baby.
Watch Baby Signing Time, even before Baby is born so you begin learning the signs. Make signs a natural part of your conversation during the day, signing the words you have learned. After Baby is born, continue with this and your baby will naturally pick up the signs. When Baby is ready, they will start signing. As you play the videos, even though Baby isn’t yet watching, she will be listening and become familiar with the songs. This will help when Baby does begin to form signs. Sing and sign to Baby as YOU learn the songs. Consistency is key to helping Baby, and you, learn to make signing a part of your daily life.
As Baby grows, you will be able to communicate even though words are not yet there. Check out our Signing Success Guides blog post for more tips. Even though some experts say to begin signing at 6 months – you can start signing to Baby much earlier. by 6 months and you will both be well into having a large sign vocabulary.
- Listening to the nay-sayers: I hear it all the time, “My mother-in-law says she’ll never speak if I sign!” or “My son’s daycare provider says signing delays language! I want him to talk!”
- The video trap: Okay, we think our videos are pretty great. However, what we don’t want to see is kids zoned out in front of the screen – no matter how great the video. So, be sure to limit screen time, even ours.
- Insisting on perfection: Much like early language, children will often come up with their own approximations for signs in the early days. Simply reinforce the proper sign by signing back and modeling the correct hand shape and move on.
- The drill and kill: Signing should be a natural and fun part of your day, not a quiz time. Infants are sponges – constantly taking in the world around them, making connections, and learning in amazing ways.
- She talked – so we stopped: Children who sign, even at the preschool level, reap incredible benefits in language and literacy acquisition.
Taking a class from a Signing Time Academy Instructors is a perfect opportunity to practice with other baby sign language families in your area. Find an Instructor near you.
Your tools for both learning and practicing Baby Signing Language are found at MySigningTime.com
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