Communication with babies can often be difficult. They can’t tell you with specificity what is bothering them. So as parents, we come up with a working knowledge of each cry and scream, decoding the various tones and volumes and hypothesizing about what their needs are. So the earlier we can communicate with them and have them communicate back, the better. That is why we are so thankful for baby sign language.
We are not experts with sign language but we have used it successfully with our babies at early stages. I contributed a post over at B-Inspired Mama called Mom’s 5 Must Know Must Show Baby Signs where I shared the most basic and most necessary baby signs. If you are just starting out with baby sign language, I would start there with the most basic baby signs.
But I wanted to go a step further to help moms (and dads) by giving you
5 Tips to Make Baby Signs Work for YOU
At first you may forget to show your baby the signs every time you talk to them, but if you make it part of your routine, your little one will start to recognize them much faster. Keep it up, make it a habit and you will see results.
We showed our first daughter some of the basic signs for months before she communicated them back to us. We were somewhat skeptical with the sign language thing and then suddenly(!) she started to sign back to us…a lot!
Say and sign.
It can be tempting to either say the word or show the sign. Try not to do one or the other, do both at the same time. This way your child is learning visually and aurally – something will likely click for them.
Make the signs your own.
If you are someone who normally talks with your hands, you may already have some signs in your vocabulary. Use those! They will come more naturally and will translate to your child much easier. We did this with “all done.” We did not do the official “all done” sign for our little ones, but the message still got across.
Translate for your child.
With some of the signs, your child may not do it perfectly. In fact, it may not look anything like the official sign. But that is ok! Keep showing them the correct sign and accept their own variation as if they were showing it correctly. Our daughter did the “please” sign like she was attempting to choke herself (or threaten another person with a knife) and the “help” sign was more like two arms flailing upward. But we understood her and that is all that matters!