One of the main benefits of baby sign language is the gift of interaction in learning. If you are the parent of several little ones chances are your ability to have longer intentional learning sessions is limited by your responsibilities. If a busy schedule is making you feel discouraged in your baby sign language journey, consider involving the whole family specifically siblings. Aside from the direct benefit of early childhood communication there are many things to be gained by allowing and even encouraging older siblings to help you teach the little one basic signs relevant to their daily routines.
Baby Sign Language Facilitates Togetherness
When you have kids of various ages it can be challenging to find activities that are equally enjoyed by all involved. By letting older siblings take initiative in the teaching process you can create an outlet for their imagination and give them a task that will elicit a sense of personal achievement. Older children can help select props or work with flashcard kits while the little ones get the opportunity to imitate and interact. Their imagination is the limit when it comes to creating games that include signing. From guessing the sign to a team scavenger hunt that includes signed clues.
Baby Sign Language Teaches Responsibility
If you are looking for a simple but fun chore for an older sibling consider a rewards-based program. For example, you could give the older child a quarter or a dollar for every sign they successfully teach baby. If instead you need the older sibling to help you with baby while you complete other responsibilities around the house consider rewarding the older sibling for a one-hour session of baby sign language.
Baby Sign Language is Best Learned in The Context of Play
Children learn best when working with other children in an environment that encourages constructivism and discovery. By letting siblings embrace baby sign language as a game and challenge you are likely to witness accelerated and natural learning as the little one seeks to engage socially with their siblings. Consider setting aside special toys or sets to be used during learning time. This could include farm animals, fruits or vegetables or handmade colored illustrations of things your children like best.
Baby Sign Language Fosters Camaraderie
By equipping your little ones to learn baby sign language together you give them common ground and a secret language to be used at home or in social contexts. I am always touched when I see little ones in the playground or at church signing a short message to their siblings instead of screaming loudly across the distance. A sense of esprit de Corp is also conveyed when little ones sing songs together and sign to the lyrics of the song during long family road trips.
If you are lucky enough to have more than one kid do consider involving them in the process of learning and teaching baby sign language.