Baby signing is the use of signs and meaningful gestures to communicate with your child. By teaching them how to use sign language, you give them a voice before their first spoken words.
Babies gain control of the muscles in their hands far sooner than those to coordinate their mouth and tongue. They have the ability to understand the connections between things and their names from as early as 6 months, but simply don’t have the physical ability to produce the words for what they want and need. Sign language provides the perfect outlet for communication, allowing them to demonstrate their understanding.
3 top tips to get you started:
- Daily repetition: Babies can sign as soon as they have the motor control to do so, but they need to have seen the signs demonstrated enough times to understand and remember what they are and what they relate to.
- Keep it simple: At first teach just the signs that will be most helpful to you and your baby, and reinforce those on a daily basis e.g. ‘mummy,’ ‘daddy,’ ‘milk’ etc. Introduce further signs as their understanding grows and it will soon become second nature.
- Keep it relevant: Always sign in context, and try to focus on what your baby is looking at or interested in. For example, it will make much more sense to sign ‘dog’ when you can see one. If they also see a bird in the tree or a duck in the pond, make sure you’re there, ready with the signs for them! You will be giving your baby the language for their thoughts, enabling them to begin making sense of their world.