Friday, 22 October 2010

Guest Post from Baby Sign Language - 4 Steps For Beginners

4 Steps For Beginners

Baby sign language is a great way to communicate with your pre-verbal child. It’s easy to learn – for you and for baby – and is a lot of fun. Beginners usually find it is best to start off with signs that you and baby can practice every day – signs like Mummy, Daddy, Milk and More are great for beginners. To make a start all you need to do is learn a few simple signs and practice, practice, practice. Here are four important steps for baby sign language beginners…

Step 1: Learn The Signs Yourself

Although the signs are easy to master it’s a good idea to practice them yourself a few times before signing to your baby. Either attend a Baby Signing class or look up some free online resources to help you learn your first signs. Limit yourself to only four or five to begin with – you can add more signs when you and baby are more confident.

Once you have learned a sign yourself, you should make this sign every time you say the word to your baby. When you make the sign, say the word clearly, with good eye contact, while pointing to the thing or person you are describing. Sign when your baby is alert and not too tired, using something which is really exciting to her, such as Milk or Mummy.

Step 2: Repeat The Signs Often

Repetition is the key to Baby Sign Language. It’s important to remember to make the sign and say the word every time you do an action or use an object. This can feel strange at first, but with practice it will become second-nature. Babies learn through repetition and it can take about two months of exposure to a sign for babies over six months to learn the sign and be ready to use it themselves. You can use baby sign language when you’re shopping, playing, feeding – anywhere you get the chance. Be creative.

Step 3: Be Patient!

When beginning to sign with your baby don’t expect too much from her too soon. Have fun and enjoy signing, making it a part of your day, but don’t be too results-focused. Be patient with yourself too – if you forget to sign for a day or two it’s OK. Just start again the next day. Remember, it can take at least two months of exposure to, and repetition of, a sign for a baby to learn it properly. Give yourself and baby plenty of time.

Step 4: Encourage All Efforts

When your baby does start to sign encourage her efforts enthusiastically! Don’t worry too much if she hasn’t got the sign quite ‘right’ – the important thing is she’s starting to communicate with you by signing and that’s a big step. Give plenty of praise, attention and eye-contact to show her you are really impressed with her efforts. When you and baby are ready you can move on to another group of signs. And don’t forget – Baby Sign Language Flash Cards are another great learning tool.

This guest post is brought to you by Baby Sign Language

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