Communicating with your little one takes time and a lot of practice, but a great way to get a jump on it is to introduce sign language into your daily routine. Children’s comprehension skills develop faster than their motor skills so you can start effectively communicating with your baby as early as six months. Here’s a couple of easy signs to get you and your baby started!
Put your hands in front of you, flush with your chest, with your palms facing your baby. Then flip your hands so that your palms are facing you and say “all done”. This is a great action for checking in to see if your baby is done with their bottle or meal. You can introduce this sign after changing your baby’s diaper or once bathtime is over, which gives it actionable meaning to help your baby understand what the sign means.
Take your hands and pinch all of your fingers together then put your hands together so that all of your fingers are touching. This is a great one to practice with because children typically associate it with food which will make them more inclined to use it. Getting your baby interested in signing only makes him more likely to use.
When trying to establish communication with your baby, it’s helpful to give them things to ask for. And what’s better than seeing them ask for you! For “Mommy” take your open hand and tap your thumb to your chin twice. For “Daddy” do the same action but tap your forehead. Got two mommies or two daddies? You can use the same signs to differentiate between parents or make it your own by placing your thumb on your nose or cheek.
A few more tips:
- Remember when starting out to use the signs while doing an action, this will help increase your baby’s comprehension.
- Make sure to emphasize the same word when introducing a new sign
- While your baby can start understanding signs around six months old it will take a few more months before she will be able to sign back.
- Repetition! Even though it will take a while for your baby to sign back, repeating the signs with the introductory action is important for helping your baby retain the meaning.