Teaching babies sign language is easy.
Using sign language for baby every day allows your child to learn communication before he can talk. This ability to communicate can greatly prevent frustration for both the child and parents that will help navigate the toddler years. Sign language babies and parents are better able to communicate with each other, which prevents tantrums and melt downs.
You don’t have to be proficient in sign language to teach your baby to sign. Learning and using just a few baby signing signs will make communication easier. These five beginner hand signs you will find invaluable.
This one baby signing sign can be used in two ways. Use as “more” to ask your child if he wants more food or milk. Use it to mean “again” to ask your child if he wants to read another book, keep playing or continue swinging at the park. Sign “more” by touching all your fingers together on both hands and then tapping the tips of your fingers of both hands together.
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Pay attention to your infant when she is hungry and you may find that she instinctively knows this sign. Many infants will bring a hand to their mouth when they cry for food. If your child does this, mimic her movements and say “eat” as you prepare her food. If your child doesn’t come up with an “eat” sign on her own, teach it to her by putting your hand to your mouth and saying “eat” every time you feed her.
Signing “all done” gives your child some control over his world. With “all done” he can tell you when he’s finished eating and wants out of the highchair, when he’s done swinging or even when he’s finished going potty. “All done” can be signed by repeatedly waving both hands at the same time.
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Teach your baby or toddler a sign for “potty” and for “all done” and you will have made major progress towards potty training. To make it easy for your baby or toddler to sign “potty” wave with a closed fist. This is similar to the true sign for “toilet.” Every time you see your child using his diaper, sign and say “potty.” When he is done, follow it up with “all done” and a diaper change and you’ll be laying the stepping stones to have an early and easy potty trainer.
If you want to start early potty training before age 12 to 18 months, as most other cultures do, then take your child to the toilet when you see her start to use her diaper. Use the sign for “potty” while she sits on the toilet. Eventually she will use this sign language for baby of waving her fist to tell you it’s time to potty.
Having a toddler that knows how to ask for help can make life with your toddler much more pleasant, especially if your child tends to get frustrated easily. If a toy is not doing what your child wants or a favorite blanket is just out of reach, knowing a hand sign for help gives him a tool to solve the problem without blowing up. Sign “help” by making a “thumbs up” sign with one hand and placing that hand onto the open palm of your other hand. Use “help” whenever your child gets frustrated and you go to help him.
By using sign language for baby hand signs every time you use the word, your child will eventually use the signs to tell you exactly what he needs. This does two very important things for a parent-child relationship. First, through teaching and watching for hand signs you’ll get to better know and respond to your child. Secondly, he will be less likely to have tantrums due to communication frustrations, which may be the best benefit of all.