Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Have you ever wanted to communicate with your baby even before he or she could speak? Are you interested in reducing your baby`s frustration`s because he or she cannot be understood? Or maybe you would just like your baby to have a larger vocabulary when he or she does finally begin to speak? If you said yes to one or more of these questions, then this post may be beneficial to you and your baby.

At the end of this post I will direct you to some very useful resources that have helped me introduce baby sign language into my home. That being said, I would like to say that I have not been paid by any company or organization. If I do promote a product it is because this product has been effective for me and my children. I would also like to say that I am not a sign language expert. However I have been practicing sign language for over three years now. I have witnessed with my own children the benefits of this teaching. I just wanted to share my experiences with all of you.

I have always been facinated by sign language, even before I had children. It was just amazing to me that people could communicate effectively in SILENCE! Using nothing more than facial expressions and quick hand and finger movements. I found this form of communication absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

When I had my first child, I did alot of research. I wanted to know everything and every way that I could teach my baby so that he would have the best possible start in life. I already knew a few signs at that point. I started to sign with my son late (he was about 18 months old). With my daughter I began when she was about 8 months old. (It has also been recommended that you start even earlier than this).Today my son speaks and signs. My daughter who is now 14 months has begun to say her first words (besides mommy and daddy). She also speaks sign fluently! She is able to do well over 50 signs. She has very few meltdowns because I can understand what she wants. Of course she does have the occasional fit, especially when I say she cannot do or have something that she wants.

 Here are some simple tips on how to start signing with your baby today.

-Start by simply showing your baby an object and then performing the matching sign for that object.
However, you must do this repeatedly. So for example If I want to teach my baby the sign for milk, I will show her a bottle of milk or if you are nursing the breast will also act as the matching object. Then I would do the sign for milk. Point back to the object and sign once again. Every time after this whenever you mention the word Milk, be sure to show baby the object and the matching sign for Milk.
It is really that simple.

-Repetition is the key! Repeat, repeat, repeat. Don`t expect to see results right away. It took my baby atleast a month to do her first sign.

-Do not overload your baby with different sign`s in the beginning. Start slow. For example, the first signs that a baby usually should learn first are as little as 3 words. Words that he or she will use regularly.

Start with these;

-Milk (for this sign, hold your hand up close your hand and squeeze your fingers into your palm repeatedly. As though you are milking a cow). This was my daughter`s very first sign.

-Diaper (for this sign, place both hand`s, on each side of your hip. Gently tap your index and middle finger`s against your thumb. This is to indicate the tabs that stick the diaper closed.

-Tired or Bed (Very easy, position your two hands together as though in prayer and rest the side of your face on them. Tilt your head gently to one side and close your eyes)

There are many other`s, but I suggest these first and then work your way up.
Don`t forget to applaud your baby`s efforts! Also don`t expect your baby to do the signs perfectly. He or she will get better with practice. Some signs are very similar, for example More and Shoes. My daughter started by doing one sign for these two words. You will learn to tell the difference and they will learn to nod Yes or No if you have misunderstood them.
Other words like Airplane for example requires us to do particular finger movements that may be difficult for a young baby. My daughter has modified this sign to what she can do. So just let your baby have fun, do not insist on perfect signs. My little boy who is three and a half does all signs perfectly. This took time and patience.

Sign language has been very successful in my home. We are a trilingual home, we speak English, French and Arabic. Our primary language is english though. Sign language has helped us find a universal language that everyone can  understand and speak. My husband speak`s mainly Arabic and French but is very comfortable communicating in english now through sign language. Seeing as we are using ASL (American sign language).
Another advantage is when we have visitors over. It has happened occasionally where my little girl will sign her needs to a visitor. That person will then come to me and show me the sign that my baby made. My daughter`s needs are then met quickly, regardless of whom she is signing with.
My son sometimes communicates in English and in French and if there is something that we have not fully understood, we will ask him to repeat himself and he will sometimes either use a different language or use sign language. It just gives him an extra way of communicating.

If you are interested in signing with your baby, I will now direct you to some resources that have helped my children.
Enjoy and good luck.

1-One dvd that has been extremely effective is; My baby can talk; exploring signs. It is about 30 mins long, very well made and just adorable. My children love it!.

2-Flashcard`s; I purchased Baby sign language flashcards Baby sign language flashcards I highly recommend Flashcards for almost anything that you are teaching children. Especially good qulaity, large and colorful cards.

3-There are also several FREE resources online. If you have a printer I suggest; the down loadable poster at Babysignlanguage.com. Click here http://www.babysignlanguage.com/wp-content/uploads/chart/baby-sign-language-chart-a4.pdfe to see the poster. I printed the pages out and have displayed them in my children`s play area. They are very well made. Be sure to place them at your child`s eye level.

One last word of advice;
Most importantly have fun! Never force your child to learn anything. If you see that they are not receptive, stop and come back to it later. My baby particularly enjoys the animal signs. As I make the sounds of the animals, I show her the matching sign and she always laughs and learns at the same time!

As a parent, you will enjoy discovering this new beautiful language with your baby. I feel like it is our own little secret special language. 

If you have found this informative, please share with other`s. I would also love to hear all of your baby sign language experiences.

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