Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Using baby sign language after eighteen months

I can't say enough about my experience using baby sign language with Nate. It has helped me communicate with him, enriched his vocabulary and warded off temper tantrums. He began actively signing back around nine or ten months old and it became an integral part of our daily lives. But at twenty months, Nate is a talking machine and our use of sign language has lessened considerably. As Nate started verbalizing more and more (around fifteen/sixteen months) I stopped teaching him new signs because he was able to verbally speak new words at that point (or at least attempt to speak them).

As he masters the verbal pronunciation of words, Nate tends to stop making the accompanying sign. This is probably due in part to the fact that once Nate has learned a verbal word, I have pretty much stopped making the accompanying sign as well. So most of the signs have just gradually dropped off. But this isn't to say that signing has completely dropped out of our lives. Nate still makes signs for words that he can't pronounce very well, like AIRPLANE and DINOSAUR. He uses signs to clarify what he's saying if I just don't understand what word he is trying to speak. And he also uses sign language to emphasize certain things. This tends to happen most often with MORE, particularly when he wants something and I've already told him no. He then yells "more!" and signs it furiously at the same time, so he's screaming at me in two different ways. Awesome.

Sometimes Nate will randomly whip out a sign that we haven't used in months. This happened yesterday when he was eating an avocado. So I asked him if he remembered some other signs as well. Usually he hates being videotaped, but he was suddenly obsessed with performing the signs:

Nate shows off some great signs to use when beginning baby sign language (please excuse my annoying level of exuberance).

Do you use baby sign language with your toddler?

If you are interested in reading more about our use of baby sign language, click here.

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE
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