How to teach baby sign language?

Tip 1 on how to teach baby sign language: have fun!

One of the benefits of using baby sign language is that it adds a new level of fun to the time you spend with your baby. You will see that babies naturally respond to signing with more smiles and giggles, even when they are just a few months old.

Set a playful tone when signing. Babies like to copy what their parents do, therefore it is important that you lead by example by keeping the tone playful. You can do this by adding a lot of drama in your signing. When you sign the word ‘dog’ imitate the dog, when you sign the word ‘happy’ act as if you are overwhelmed with joy. Babies love acting.

Another way of incorporating fun into teaching baby sign language is to start signing when you’re doing fun activities. For example when you’re taking a bath together, when you’re out for a walk or when you’re feeding your baby his favourite snack. This way your infant will associate sign language with fun activities.

Tip 2 on how to teach baby sign language: start with easy words.

I’m sure you had no intention to start teaching your baby the word ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ (I had to look that one up myself ). However it’s important to start signing words that are of interest to your infant. His toys, his food, his favourite animals, mom, dad,…

A baby will be more motivated to learn the words that are important to him in his mini-environment. Empathize with your baby and don’t try to force teaching him signs for words that are important to you. You’ll have plenty of time to do that later.

Tip 3 on how to teach baby sign language: show lots of encouragement.

For a baby, learning sign language is hard work. There is a lot of intense concentration on his part as he is trying to grasp the signs and subsequently putting his hands to work when his motor skills aren’t yet fully developed.

Therefore it’s vital that we give our baby encouragement for his efforts. Even when the signing isn’t perfect. Just the fact that he is trying is worth the encouragement.

The biggest encouragement you can give your baby is acknowledgement. Just the simple fact that you show your child that understand what he’s trying to tell you will mean the world to him. So when he signs a word, repeat the word by saying it and by signing it again. Another way of showing encouragement is by showing him how happy you are. Add a lot of drama to it. As we mentioned before, babies love it when you overact. You will get a lot of giggles and your baby will feel encouraged to learn more. Give your baby what he signs for. For example your baby signs for milk then offer some milk. He will feel encouraged to sign when he learns that his needs are being fulfilled when he signs. Can there be a greater reward? It’s like having a genie in a bottle.

The following information is on the course detail page for my Understand Your Baby’s Thoughts course. Top of Form

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