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How to Teach Baby Sign Language

Updated on December 29, 2013

Babies all over the world are extremely adorable and loveable. But it goes without saying that these tiny tots require a lot of attention and care. Since they can’t speak or use the vocal words, babies try to communicate with you by crying or wailing. Such behavior may not always be welcoming to the ears, especially when you can’t seem to figure out just what it is that the baby wants. For this reason, baby sign language was developed to aid parents and other family members in trying to understand what the apple of their eye is trying to say.

Baby sign language is not rocket science. It involves a number of signs that are associated with everyday things such as food, water, sleep, etc. It has provided massive ease for parents who are saved from all the guesswork each day. However, like all forms of teaching and training, this one also requires that a proper method be employed instead of making up and displaying random signs to your kid. Teaching sign language to babies can be made easier by focusing on a few tips.

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Work With Patience, Lots of It
All great things require quite a lot of time and patience. Hurrying such things can defeat their whole purpose and make your life miserable instead of easy. Even the most basic sign language for babies will require you to dedicate yourself to this job and put hours on end with your kid. No matter how smart your kid is, you can’t expect him or her to get used to something new so fast. You might also feel that making up signs on your own is not going to work out as perfectly as you’d have imagined. In such cases, parents can buy a book about baby sign language and select the most suitable and easy signs from that. This will also take time as proper selection is a must to ensure that the training continues and understandable communication is allowed over time.

Making Your Baby Understand Is A Must
Just showing your kid a series of signs isn’t going to get you anywhere. For the baby to actually pick up on those signs you need to make sure that he or she fully understands what each sign stands for on its own. Such a thing may not be easy to accomplish because every time you hand him or her some object, like a water bottle, toy, etc, you will have to make the associated sign for it. There is no room for forgetfulness because that would confuse your kid and disrupt the whole training.

Consistency is a Must
When you have decided on a bunch of signs for all the objects and activities of your kid, you have to make sure that you stick to only these selected signs. Being consistent is the key to success and forgetting the signs or deciding that another one is more appropriate later on will bring you back to square one. Except for teaching your kids those signs, you will have to teach them to yourself everyday too until you recognize all of them and have become an expert with them. Consistency also implies that you practice with your kid every day, throughout the day, until he or she has picked up on those signs and proceeds to make them whenever a specific object is in sight or needed.

Keep a Diary
As you progress over time, it’s natural that you might forget some signs that aren’t used all that much. For this reason, you should maintain a diary right from the beginning. Jot down all the objects, activities and words that you are teaching your baby and write little descriptions of the associated signs or make some pictures (if you’re good at drawing) in front of these. This will let you revisit the older signs and help you remember them properly. If you are not much of a diary person then you can make some charts instead and hang them around the play pen or your kid’s room.

Keep An Eye Out For Progress
Your kid might actually start learning and displaying signs pretty early on in the training phase. In such a situation you have to be aware of what your kid is up to throughout the training time. If he makes a certain sign and you ignore it or do not see, then this might actually force him or her to get discouraged and stop trying. However, if you give the child what he or she wants or further communicate with him or her then that behavior will be reinforced and more signs will come your way in no time at all.

Have Fun with Your Kid
Teaching your kid sign language should not be looked at as a chore. It should be seen as quality time with your baby. Not many people are able to pay so much attention to their child each day. If you have fun throughout the training then your baby is most likely to have a good time too.


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