Baby sign language is a form of communication that allows babies to communicate their needs and wants using gestures and hand movements before they are able to speak. It has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to reduce frustration and improve communication between babies and their caregivers.
Babies start developing sign language skills as early as six months of age. This is when they start to become more aware of their surroundings and are able to understand and respond to simple commands. At this age, they are also starting to develop their hand-eye coordination, which is essential for learning and using sign language.
So, when is the best time to start teaching baby sign language? It is generally recommended to start introducing sign language to babies around six to nine months of age, when they are able to understand and respond to simple commands. This is also a good age to start using sign language to communicate with your baby, as they are starting to become more aware of their surroundings and are able to understand and respond to simple commands.
So, how do you go about teaching sign language to babies? The first step is to choose a few basic signs to start with, such as “more,” “eat,” “drink,” “diaper,” and “sleep.” It is important to choose signs that are relevant to your baby’s daily routine and needs.
Once you have chosen the signs you want to teach, the next step is to start using them consistently in your daily interactions with your baby. Whenever you give your baby a drink, make the “drink” sign while you are saying the word. When you are changing their diaper, make the “diaper” sign while you are saying the word.
It is also important to model the signs consistently and clearly for your baby, using exaggerated hand movements and facial expressions to help them understand the meaning of the signs. You can also use visual aids, such as flashcards or videos, to help your baby learn the signs.
One tip to make the learning process easier is to use the signs in context, rather than just randomly using them throughout the day. For example, if you are feeding your baby, make the “eat” sign while you are saying the word and giving them food. This helps your baby understand the meaning of the sign and how to use it in a relevant context.
As your baby starts to learn and use the signs, you will be able to see if you are making contact with them and if they are listening to you. Some signs that your baby is listening and responding to the signs include:
- Repeating the sign back to you
- Using the sign to communicate their needs or wants
- Looking at you and paying attention when you make the sign
For example, if you make the “more” sign while giving your baby food and they repeat the sign back to you or reach out for more food, this is a good sign that they are understanding and responding to the sign.
In conclusion, teaching baby sign language can be a fun and rewarding way to improve communication and reduce frustration between babies and their caregivers. By starting around six to nine months of age and using the signs consistently and in context, you can help your baby learn and use sign language to communicate their needs and wants. As you start to see your baby responding to the signs and using them to communicate, you will know that you are making contact and that they are listening to you.