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Baby Sign Language




Baby sign language has been all the talk lately- but what exactly does it involve? Check out our latest blog post below by Mama Natural for more info!


 

Baby sign language is an awesome tool to use before baby can say words. Follow our step-by-step guide, which includes a visual cheat sheet, to teach it to your baby.


How many times have you wished that your crying baby could just tell you what was wrong? Baby sign language is a great tool to establish communication between you and your baby before they start talking, and we’ve got the low-down.


Baby Sign Language Basics


It’s a version of typical American Sign Language (“ASL”) that’s simplified for baby’s hands and motor skills. It helps parents and caregivers communicate with babies who are not yet verbal or who are just starting to talk.


Benefits for Baby


1. Improves self-esteem

Some experts believe that this type of communication improves baby’s self-esteem, because it helps them feel seen and heard and shows that their parents are attentive to their needs. It’s also a confidence booster, as they’re gaining and mastering a new skill.


2. Improves mood

Because temper tantrums typically stem from the frustration of not being able to communicate their needs, this type of communication can potentially reduce the frequency and intensity of temper tantrums.


It helps you keep your calm, too, because you’re not trying to figure out what’s bothering baby and growing increasingly frustrated trying to interpret their cries.


3. May help baby talk sooner

While some experts believe that this reinforcement and repetition can help babies talk sooner, the research is mixed. One thing is certain, though: It doesn’t delay verbal skills. Can’t hurt to try, right?!


When to Start Teaching It


Your baby’s eyesight and motor skills have to be developed enough for them to observe and participate. Most babies are developmentally ready for parents to begin signing around four months, though baby won’t likely be able to sign back until they’re seven to nine months old.


How to Teach It to Your Child


1. Start with the familiar

What are the activities and objects that baby does or sees on a regular basis? Start there. Start by introducing signs baby will frequently use, such as “more,” “milk,” “mom,” or “dad,” so you’ll have ample opportunities to use those signs.


2. Repeat, repeat, repeat

Repetition is key. Repeat those first few signs often—even if it doesn’t seem like baby is picking up on it. You might be tempted to try a different sign if baby isn’t picking up on the first signs you introduced, but it’s important to stick to the basics. Once baby has mastered the initial 4-5 signs, then you can expand their vocabulary and add another 4-5 into the rotation.


3. Keep your cool

Don’t expect your child to master this process over night—it’s a slow process. Keep it fun and encourage baby. Praise baby when they understand and/or repeat your actions. Keep a smile on your face, and make sure that you’re holding your hands where baby can see them.


Baby Sign Language Flash Cards


These words are very relevant to baby’s routine, so you’ll naturally use them often. Remember: Repetition is key.



And Don’t Forget…

If you’re getting discouraged, take a deep breath and keep at it. Sign language takes patience and lots of repetition. Even if it seems like baby isn’t grasping the concept at first, you might be surprised when they sign “milk” out of the blue! Your hard work will eventually pay off.

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