The Baby Signs® program is a natural baby sign language that allows infants and their parents or caregivers to use simple signs to communicate important things (like being hungry or thirsty, hot or cold, afraid or sad), often a full year before babies could otherwise talk. Two decades of research has demonstrated that the Baby Signs® program has dramatic benefits, including decreasing frustration for babies and caregivers, enriching the parent-child bond, boosting emotional development, helping babies talk sooner, even raising IQ.
10 Steps to Baby Sign Success:
- Start with just a few signs. Choosing a few means you, as well as your baby, are more likely to remember them. “Eat,” “drink,” and “more” are good starter signs.
- Always use the sign and the word together. Seeing the sign and hearing the word together helps your baby make the connection.
- Repeat the sign and the word. Be sure your baby is watching, and then quickly repeat the sign and word combination several times.
- Point when possible. If the sign you’re using stands for an object, point to the object while saying the word and making the sign.
- Guide your baby’s hands. If you feel it necessary, gently guide you baby’s hands, but don’t expect perfection. Babies’ motor skills are limited.
- Make signing a part of your daily activities. Add reminders of the signs you are teaching to your daily routine (i.e., a rubber duck in the bath tub or flower stickers on your baby’s high chair).
- Watch for opportunities. Be on the lookout for things to talk about with signs. More examples mean faster learning.
- Be flexible. The sign doesn’t have to look exactly right for you to understand what your baby is trying to communicate. Be sure to watch for your baby’s own creations.
- Be patient. The younger your baby, the longer it will take to learn a sign.
- Make signing fun. Encourage your baby often. Have fun together and enjoy the magic that using baby signs will bring.