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Intro To Baby Sign Language: What Age And First Signs

Posted Feb 18 2011 9:46pm

This guest post is brought to us by our friends at the Baby Sign Language site. Enjoy signing with your baby!

Baby Signing is a cool way to communicate with your baby or young toddler. It is easy to learn how to sign and the rewards are great. You can start to sign with your child at any time – why not begin right now? The most responsive ages are from around four to six months, right up until the onset of toddlerhood. Most children find it great fun, and signing can help reduce the frustration that causes many tantrums. There’s no excuse – let’s get started…

When starting with Sign Language For Babies , it’s best to pick a few simple signs to begin with. These should be signs that represent something sure to grab the interest of your baby! Mommy and Daddy are great starter signs, as are Milk and More.

MOMMY: To make the sign for Mommy, extend and spread your fingers apart on your right hand. With your little finger facing forwards, tap your thumb on your chin.

DADDY: To make the sign for Daddy, extend and spread out the fingers on your right hand, then tap your hand on your forehead with your thumb. This is similar to the sign for Mommy but done higher up the head.

MILK: The sign for Milk is a lot like the action of milking a cow without the up and down motion. Just pretend you are just squeezing the cow’s udder. Make both hands into a fist, relax and repeat. Milk.

MORE: To make the sign for More, make an O shape with each hand by meeting your fingers and thumbs. Bring your hands together and separate them a few times. More.

How To Start Making Signs
It’s important to say the word that goes with the sign, making good eye contact, while pointing to the thing or person you are describing. Say and make the signs often each day. Sign when your baby is bright and not fussing or tired. Be sure to make the sign and say the word every time you do an action or use an object. Babies learn through repetition. With enough exposure to a sign, and repetition of it, eventually your baby will begin to use the signs himself.

Expanding Your Vocabulary
When you have mastered the signs above you can begin to introduce some new ones. Try to limit new signs to those of a similar type – foods, for example, or colors, or shapes. Only introduce a few new signs at a time, and repeat each new sign for a few weeks before moving on to another.

Remember to use the signs you and baby have already learned. It’s easy to forget to use a sign when you are focusing on new ones, but it’s important to build upon what you already know and to encourage your baby to practice the basics. By the age of seven or eight months, many babies who have been signing for over three months have a repertoire of six to eight words.

Do you sign with your baby? Which signs do you know?

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