Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baby sign language tip: Easy areas to incorporate sign language

When using sign language with your baby it's best to incorporate signs into all of the conversations you are already having with your little one. The more they see the signs and hear the words, the quicker they will catch on to the meaning. But this can be easier said than done. When Nate was younger I often had a tough time keeping up my end of the conversation. It can be tough to be continually verbal when your conversational partner doesn't talk back. Or respond much in anyway at all.

If the prospect of learning a ton of signs overwhelms you, just pick a few you can will use consistently. Once you know those signs well, add one or two signs at a time. Here are some easy areas to work in a few signs:

Eating time is a great time to use your signs. Great signs to use are: MILK, EAT, MORE and ALL DONE.
Here's Nate at lunch time signing BREAD, CHEESE and PLEASE (he was enjoying homemade pumpkin bread with cream cheese):

It looks like someone is prompting Nate off screen, but nobody is there!
He's looking at the pictures on our computer screen saver.

Story time
Learn a couple signs in your baby's favorite story.  Sign while you read. I like to sit Nate on my lap facing me and rest the book against me so my hands are free. Animals are always big hits. DOG, GORILLA and BEAR were the first animal signs that Nate learned. BOOK and MORE can also be incorporated at story time.

Pretend Play
Try teaching SLEEP and TIRED while you put pretend to put your baby's lovey to bed. Nate gets a big kick out this and loves putting a blanket over his stuffed animals.  This is also a good way to teach HURT. You can have a stuffed animal fall down and get a boo-boo.  Then you can sign HURT on the animal's boo-boo. Don't forget to kiss it and make it better!

Try TREE, BIRD, AIRPLANE and FLOWER. Use the signs on walks or when you're just playing outside.

If you are looking for a book on how to begin using sign language with your baby, I highly recommend Baby Signing 1-2-3: The Easy-to-Use Illustrated Guide for Every Stage and Every Age. Want an online ASL dictionary? Check out

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