I’m excited to feature a guest post today from Misty Weaver, fellow mommy and editor-in-chief at BabySignLanguage.com. As you may remember from my previous post, baby sign language was an essential communication tool in our household. It was a pretty magical-slash-eerie moment when finally, one day out of the blue, Noob Baby started signing “more milk” and “all done.” I won’t deny that I felt a “tad” triumphant to have something to show for all those times I felt silly signing to my little blob. But in the end, I really feel like signing not only helped eliminate a lot of communication frustration, but it also facilitated Noob Baby speaking earlier than we expected.
So thank you, Misty, for providing the following Beginner’s Tips, and be sure to stop by her website for more resources on how to sign with your noob.
Start to sign as soon as you can
The sooner you start signing to your baby, the sooner he will begin to communicate his needs back to you. You can start at any time, even from birth. Don’t be afraid to make a start. Once you do, the rest just flows.
Get Daddy involved early on
Often dads feel left out when bringing up a young baby, especially if Mom is breastfeeding. Signing is something baby and daddy can do together, creating a special bond. Get your baby’s father involved early on so he can be a part of the signing journey.
Make it fun
So many things these days are just plain hard work! Baby Signing is supposed to be fun – and that’s one of the reasons it works so well. At first your baby will just watch you making the signs and will probably just smile or laugh. You may feel silly. This is good for you and for your baby. Parenthood should have as many light moments as possible.
Use Flash Cards to help
Baby Sign Language Flash Cards are a valuable teaching aid to help you develop the signing vocabulary of your baby. Flash cards work because they are a visual stimulus for you and baby, and create extra interest in the idea or object you are signing.
Go to a baby sign language class
If you are struggling with your first signs try a Sign Language For Babies class. Classes are a great way to meet other signing parents and have fun together. There will be lots of signing and signing, with toys and other prompts to aid the learning of the signs. Babies are welcome at classes from birth, so it’s never too soon to go along and give it a try.
Start with signs that are super-exciting to baby
The first signs you teach to your baby should be ones that are really exciting to him. Concrete things like Mommy, Daddy, Milk or Book are the best signs to begin with. It’s easier to engage a baby’s attention with these signs before moving on to more complex ones.
Repeat the signs often
Once you have decided on your first sign or signs, repeat these many times each day. Babies learn through repetition and you will need to repeat the signs often for a number of months before your baby will pick them up.
Encourage your baby
Babies and young children seek only to please, so remember to encourage all your baby’s efforts at signing. Only through constant encouragement and praise will your baby master signing.
Our top tip for beginners is to be patient and have realistic expectations. Your baby won’t be signing regularly within weeks of you starting to teach him baby sign language, but he may be using one or two signs within a couple of months.
Have you had success with baby signs? I’d love to hear your comments about what signs you’ve used and any other tips you may have!