Communicate With Your Baby Through Sign Language

Babies when they are young they can not speak so what do they do? They either scream or point at things they want. Even if your baby is too young to talk, you can teach her ways to get her message across through the simple act of signing. Of course, the signs you introduce to your baby will need to be for particular objects of interest, like milk or food (for young babies) or perhaps toys or pets for slightly older babies.

You will need to be consistent with your use of signs, using a combination of persistence and repetition to ensure that your baby has time to get the hang of it. The important thing to remember is that the signs are not to be used as a substitute for language, but as an added form of communication, to be used in conjunction with normal speech. By saying the word as you sign it, your baby is learning not only the sign for the object/concept, but the sound of the word that it is related to as well!

Your baby can then choose which form of communication to use first, speech or sign. Sign language, previously used exclusively by the deaf, is now being used by parents as a way to empower hearing babies and reduce their frustration by giving them the tools to communicate before they are physiologically able to talk. Don’t force feed signs. Honor the process.

You are not teaching signs, but rather incorporating signs into your life. Never show disappointment if your child chooses not to sign in a particular situation in which he or she has signed before, such as, “You knew how to say milk. Why aren’t you using that sign now?” Although it may appear that your baby is not doing much talking, don’t underestimate the speed at which your child is learning language. Keep in mind that there are two kinds of language: words he can say and words he can understand. The 13- to 19-month-old may say very little, but understands so much.

You can begin by making up some simple signs and using them consistently. For example, when it is time to eat, you can make a motion of putting something into your mouth as you tell your child “eat.” If you are offering your child a drink, make a motion of lifting a cup to your mouth while you say “drink.” Do this each time you use the word you are trying to teach and your child will catch on quickly. In order to be successful in this endeavor, you will need to be consistent and patient. If your child has additional caregivers, make a list of the signs you are working with so they can use the signs to communicate with your child.

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