If you’re wondering how to teach Baby sign language, then you’re not alone. Many parents, especially first timers, figure they’ve just got to make the long haul until their babies have the motor skills to start talking. But babies have needs to express long before that (any expecting mother can tell all about the pains of Baby kicking in the womb!).
So how do you go about learning this special baby sign language in the first place so you can then teach it to your baby?
The good news is that it’s easier than ever with websites like SigningTime.com and Signing4Babies.com, in addition to a wealth of books and videos such as “MyBaby Can Talk” to choose from. Sorting through it all might be your biggest challenge since it will take some time. But it’s a worthwhile investment to better understand your baby, don’t you think?
With that in mind, the key is to start with the signs both you and Baby would most benefit from learning first-like “Potty,” “Sleep,” “Eat,” “Mommy” and “Daddy.”
Success breeds success. Babies are smarter than we often give them credit for. When they see that you are now understanding their needs better and faster, they’ll be much more likely to use the symbols more to communicate clearly. And that also makes it much easier to introduce more signs into their symbolic vocabulary.
No doubt, with sufficient practice you will see a profound increase in your baby’s happiness and responsiveness and an equally profound decrease in your frustration. It’s a true win-win.
Of course, practice is the keyword here. You’ve got to maintain a positive and pleasant attitude for your baby to embrace this new way of talking to you. It cannot be emphasized enough that babies easily pick up on our emotions, so any degree of frustration or upset in your demeanor will be read and may cause your baby to back away from this new behavior for fear of punishment.
That’s why it’s also important to reward your baby for signing correctly. Positive reinforcement works far better than punishment (that goes for adults too!), so keep plenty of treats on hand–whether it’s your baby’s favorite fruit puree, a song he or she loves, or a video that’s sure to cause a crack up.
As you might guess from the discussion above, there’s no one approach that will work for every infant. Start somewhere and see what works. There is really no harm in making mistakes as long as you recognize them along the way and test out other ways of teaching that may work better. Feel free to use your resources for new ideas whenever you get stuck.
But after all is said and done, you may just find that your little one was the best resource of all for how to teach baby sign language!