Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Sign Language

Kherington and I are using baby sign language. Well, so far only I'm using it... but she will catch on soon! I love this idea... it gives a baby that can't yet speak her needs an outlet for communicating her frustrations and desires. So I was thrilled when I was approached by Misty Weaver, Chief Editor of Baby Sign Language, to do a guest post. I hope you enjoy her post and get a chance to visit her informative site...

Starting Baby Sign Language At 6-9 Months
by Misty Weaver

You can start to teach baby sign language at any age – it is never too soon or too late to gain some benefit from signing with your child. The optimum age for baby sign language, however, is thought to be between six and nine months. One of the founders of baby sign language, Dr. Joseph Garcia, found that a baby who begins learning sign language at seven months old will need around two months of exposure and repetition of a sign before she starts using it. Starting
Baby Sign Language at 6-9 months will give you and baby the best start on your signing journey.

How To Sign
Baby Signing is easy and fun – all you need to do to make a start is learn a few simple signs. It’s best to begin with signs you can use on a daily basis, such as Mommy, Daddy, Milk and More. More is often the first sign a baby learns! Begin with these starter signs then build up your range to include other objects, ideas and emotions. You will need to make the sign every time you say the word to your baby. It’s important to say the word that goes with the sign clearly, with good eye contact, while pointing to the thing or person you are describing. At first, try to sign when your baby is alert and not fussing, using an object which is exciting to him, such as Milk or Mummy. Practice the signs beforehand so you feel confident and clear about what you are doing.


To sign make the sign for Mommy, spread your fingers apart on your right hand. With your little finger facing forward tap your thumb on your chin.


To sign make the sign for Daddy, spread your fingers on your right hand. Tap your hand on your forehead. This is similar to Mommy but higher up the head.

The sign for Milk is like milking a cow, but without the up and down motion – you are just squeezing the udder. Take both hands, make them into a fist, relax, and repeat. To make the sign for More, flatten out your hands then bring your thumbs under to make an O shape. Bring your hands together and separate them repeatedly.

Repetition Is The Key
Repetition is key with Baby Sign Language . Be sure to make the sign and say the word every time you do an action or use an object. Your baby will learn the signs through repetition (and so will you), and it will be natural for him to eventually sign back.

Be Patient
Don’t expect too much too soon. Your baby is unlikely to be signing for more milk if he is only 4 months old and you’ve been signing to him for a week! Remember, when you are starting to sign with your baby at around 6-9 months, it will take about two months of repetition before your baby will begin signing back.


Just Another Day In Paradise said...

Love signing! I have taken 5 semesters of it. We used it with the 8 year old we hosted from Ukraine and she picked it up so quickly. I truly think sign is the first step to communication, no matter what the age. How great it will be to know what K wants before she is able to speak it.

Paige said...

We loved signing! Griffin's daycare started it with him and it was so wonderful! He had the most luck with "more" and "all done".

Mehren said...

As a speech pathologist I think using sign language with your baby is fabulous! It only supports speech and language development and can ease the frustration of not being able to communicate. Good job Chels!

Heidi said...

My family used sign language for both O and M. We still use it sometimes as they get older. It is a great tool!

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