4.10.2009

Baby Sign Language


Ever wonder what's behind the crying, the whining, the tears and the tantrums? You're a mom...of course you have! You can stop wondering sooner than later, and know what your baby wants if you learn to communicate with her. Even before babies learn to speak they can tell us what they want...and baby sign language is the easiest way to understand their needs.


I started teaching baby sign language to my daughter when she was about six months old. For the past two months I've only been concentrating on a few words: milk, food, more, mommy and daddy. I try to use them as consistently as possible. It will likely take months before she finally connects the need, the sign and the word. But when she does, she'll be able to tell me she's hungry instead of crying until I figure it out.

Yesterday, I got so excited as my daughter's little hand was making a motion that looked like the American Sign Language sign for milk. I immediately fed her...thinking she's picked it up already! I'm raising a genius! I called my husband and told him...I was so proud. Then, an hour after I fed her I noticed she was doing it again. She can't still be hungry. Later, I ran to the store and when I got back my husband said she'd been doing the same motion....and that it was more likely she liked making a fist and opening her fingers back out (like milking a cow), than it was that she was telling me she was hungry...still! Well, at least she's half way there. She's learned how to make the sign, now she just needs to connect it to her desire for milk.

If you think about it, many babies learn to wave "bye-bye" and blow kisses around 10 or 11 months old. Although these aren't ASL signs, it's the same concept. If your baby can learn to wave bye-bye or hi, why can't she learn a sign for "milk?" It doesn't matter if you and your baby use your own signs or ASL to communicate, just as long as you both know what you're talking...or signing...about! 

Early Baby Signs

Milk - make a motion like you're milking a cow
More - On each hand, bring all your fingers together. Tap all 10 fingers together
Food - Tap your lips with all five fingers on one hand
Mommy - Spread your fingers out, and tap your chin with your thumb
Daddy - Spread your fingers out, and tap your forehead with your thumb

It's never too late to start introducing signs to your baby. While some parents are concerned that teaching an infant or toddler sign language, will delay their speech, quite the opposite is true.

For more on how to get started teaching baby sign language to your little one click here.

2 comments:

Baby Signs(R) With Elizabeth ICI, INC. said...

Great post! I've taught all three of my boys how to use Baby Sign Language and it's amazing! The immediate benefits such as fewer tantrums are wonderful and I'm now seeing the later benefits as my oldest is in school and is advanced in language and vocabulary skills!

Melissa said...

I can't wait to see my daughter make her first official sign! How old were your boys when they first signed?

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