Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baby Sign Language

We have been signing with Jackson since he was born and we're finally starting to see some progress. He knows and understands the signs "more," "all done," "doggie," and "kitty." We've also started introducing "milk," "eat," "drink," and "thank you." I think signing is so helpful for easing a baby's frustration before they can speak! Want to learn more about signing with your baby? Check out this awesome article Misty Weaver with Baby Sign Language put together for us!

What Baby Sign Language Is And How To Introduce It
Baby sign language is a way of teaching your baby to communicate by way of hand gestures. Based on ASL (American Sign Language), it is a simplified version for babies and children. Baby Sign Language is fun, it’s free and, best of all, it really works! You can start to sign from birth – in fact, the sooner you start signing with your baby, the sooner she will begin to communicate her needs back to you.

How To Start
It’s best to begin with signs you can use on a daily basis, such as Mommy, Daddy, Milk and More. More is (not surprisingly) often the first sign a baby learns! Signs that represent something exciting to your baby will be easier for him to learn – begin with these starter signs then you can build up your range of signs to include other objects, ideas and emotions.

How To Sign
You need to make the sign every time you say the relevant word to your baby. Say the word that goes with the sign clearly, with good eye contact, while pointing to the thing or person you are describing. Be sure 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. It’s important to repeat the sign as often as possible – make the sign and say the word every time you do an action or use an object.
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! Research by Dr. Joseph Garcia, one of the founders of Baby Sign Language, found that a typical baby who starts learning signs at seven months old needs about two months of repetition and exposure to a sign to start using it.

Starter Signs

To sign Mommy extend and spread apart your fingers. With your pinkie facing forward, tap your thumb on your chin.

To sign Daddy, extend and spread out your five fingers on your strong hand. Tap your hand on your forehead. Done right you will look like a turkey.

The sign for Milk is a lot like milking a cow, but without the vertical motion – you are just squeezing the udder. Take both hands, make them into a fist, relax, and repeat. You will notice most babies have trouble moving their fingers together this way, but any kind of repeated squeezing and relaxing of the hand is likely Milk.

To do the sign for More, flatten out your hands then bring your thumbs under to make an O shape. Then, bring your hands together and separate them repeatedly. Baby will often simplify More by clapping their fists together. As they get older and more proficient you may want to encourage the more correct sign of flattening out their hands and creating the O shape with their thumbs as a fun way to help them develop fine motor skills.

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Chelsey - The Paper Mama said...

We've been trying to do this. Nothing yet. :D

reasonstoskipthehousework said...

Thank you for posting this. I've been hesitant to start, but am thinking it'll be great when she's a bit older - she's 6 months old now.

The Adventures of a Blondie Mommie said...

I don't think it's ever too late to start (or too early!). It might seem like they're not paying attention but they're like little sponges, soaking up everything around them!

Ashly said...

Too funny I just posted a review on my blog about Baby Signing time! Have you tried that yet? My daughter is almost 2 but has been watching it for probably a year and a half now - SHE LOVES IT. Really it has made her learn a lot, and also me, my husband, and son (who's 9!). If you want check out my review on it at http://www.dirtytruthreviews.blogspot.com
it is seriously an awesome program (movies)! If my blog ever gets bigger I might try to do a giveaway on it - if I do I will come back here and let you know so you can enter - it really is a wonderful way for kids to learn ASL!

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