Infant sign language will help him or her develop better speech skills, and will also give you more effective ways to communicate with your baby. Here are four things that you should know about infant sign language before deciding whether it’s the right choice for you and your baby.
Parents of infants and babies should start learning infant sign language early. Babies can communicate as early as two or three months old, which means they’re going to be frustrated when they don’t have a way to communicate with you in their own language. The earlier you learn infant sign language, the better off your baby will be; by waiting until your child is older, you risk missing out on important developmental stages. Start today!
Practice every day
Keeping in touch with your baby by speaking is important, but it’s also vital to make sure you practice infant sign language every day. In fact, studies show that daily use of sign language dramatically increases a child’s chances of having a strong vocabulary and better verbal skills when they grow up. So, if you want your little one to succeed in life and be happy, then making signing part of their routine is an absolute must.
Keep it fun
Babies pick up signs faster when they’re having fun. So, instead of getting your baby to sign more, for example, try asking him or her if he or she wants a little more milk from a big glass. It may sound silly, but it works! That’s why singing and rhyming are so effective in teaching infants sign language: these methods make learning pleasurable and fun.
Speak and sign at the same time
While sign language is best learned at a young age, adults can learn too. Start by teaching your infant hand gestures that correspond to what you’re saying in order to give him or her some exposure. For example, whenever you say baby, your infant can learn to point their fingers at themselves; when you call their name, they should point at their head.
You don’t need any special tools
All you need to teach your baby sign language is a willing participant and some patience. Babies learn very quickly at a young age and will pick up on any motion that is associated with words. It doesn’t take much effort to be successful in teaching your baby ASL, and you’ll be amazed by how quickly they learn new signs, as well as their progress from signing in only single word phrases to full sentences.
Encourage your child to talk, too!
Speaking with your child should come as a top priority. Talk to them even if they don’t sign anything back. It still helps their language development. However, you can use signs to get them talking, too. Even if they seem uninterested at first, it won’t take long for them to warm up and start using signs on their own. Watch how fast their vocabulary grows!
Don’t force it!
If your baby resists signing, don’t push them to do it. Just like with any other language—spoken or signed. Baby sign language takes time and repetition. Babies typically begin reaching for signs as early as six months, but can often take longer. If you still haven’t seen any signs of recognition by your child’s first birthday, talk to your pediatrician about their hearing and cognitive development.
Be patient and persistent
Infants aren’t going to learn sign language overnight. It takes a lot of trial and error and patience on your part. It’s important not to force them into signing if they don’t want to; that won’t be fun for anyone. Give yourself and your baby time, but be persistent so you can grow together as signers (and closer as parent and child).
READ HERE FOR BASIC SIGNS FOR INFANT SIGN LANGUAGE!!