Step Four: Expand Your Baby Sign Vocabulary
Once baby learns her first few signs start adding a few more signs, and then when she learns those add a few more. The first ten or so signs will come very gradually, but the rate of learning will accelerate after the first few months. Baby will soon become more proficient at signing and will even start prompting you for new signs.
Follow your child’s interests when adding new signs, taking advantage of their natural curiosity about their world.
Adding signs gradually makes it easier for baby to learn. And while we add new signs, we still want to keep giving the old signs a workout to keep baby from forgetting those old signs.
2. Follow their Interests
Oberserve what kinds of signs are most interesting to baby, and focus most of your vocabulary expansion on these topics. For example, if your baby is fascinated by food signs, make most of your new signs about types of food.
Particularly at this early stage, it is much more important to get momentum and keep it fun than it is to learn any particular signs. Just like when a child is learning to read, you just want them to read, and shouldn’t be too concerned about what they are reading. There will be plenty of time to balance out their vocabulary later, to start follow their interests.
3. Extending Along Themes
It is easiest to teach new signs in groups of related concepts. For example animals, foods, vehicles, people, colors, etc. Selecting a theme that interest your child, add new signs in that group. The contrast between the items in the group help baby understand the meaning of the word. For example, teaching hot and cold together is easier than teaching the signs separately because the meanings of the two words are related and understanding one illuminates the other.
Numbers and letters are also good themes, but are too abstract for the early stages of baby sign language and should be saved for more advanced toddlers.
4. Teaching Aids
Once the baby gets more advanced, you will start learning words that you don’t have a lot of exposure to in real life. To facilitate the learning of these words, you can start using teaching aids to help you.
- Flash Cards – print out some of our baby sign language flash cards to add groups of signs such as animals or colors.
- Picture Books – sign along to you baby’s favorite board books. Very simple books where each page has a clear theme that can be signed are best. For example Eric Carle’s Brown Bear has one animal on each page of the book.
- Props – figurines are another great way to teach signs. Figurines representing different animals, vehicles, or people are common choices. For small children, select figurines that are small enough that they can hold but that are big enough that they are not at risk of being swallowed.
Previous Page: Step Three – Encourage Effort
If you found this information useful, check out our award winning baby sign language kit. It includes more than 600 signs, covers advanced teaching methods for faster results, and includes fun teaching aids like flash cards.
The Deluxe Baby Sign Language Kit, bundles together everything you need to get started with signing in one box, at a steep discount. The kit includes: (1) Baby Sign Language Guide Book; (2) Baby Sign Language Dictionary: (3) Baby Sign Language Flash Cards; and (4) Baby Sign Language Wall Chart.
Baby Sign Language Guide Book shows you how to teach your child how to sign. The book begins with a Quick Start Guide that will teach you your first signs and having you ready to sign in 30 minutes. As your baby progresses, you can delve into more advanced topics like combining signs to make phrases, using props, and transitioning to speech. (Regularly $19.95)
Baby Sign Language Dictionary contains over 600 signs including the most common words, the alphabet and numbers. The dictionary helps you expand your child’s vocabulary, and has the breadth of coverage that lets you follow any child’s natural interests. Each sign is illustrated with two or more diagrams, showing you the starting position, the ending position, and intermediate motion. This makes learning new signs easy. (Regularly $19.95)
Baby Sign Language Flash Cards include 52 sturdy board (4×6 inches) flash cards, covering a variety of basic signs. The flash cards allow you to teach words, such as animal names, that Baby is not exposed to in everyday life. The face of the flash cards shows the word and image for the child. The back of the flash cards show how the sign is performed, a handy reminder for the adult. (Regularly $24.95)
Baby Sign Language Wall Chart includes 22 basic signs, and makes a handy reminder for caregivers. The Baby Sign Language Wall Chart covers basic signs, like eat, drink, and sleep. Hang the poster in Baby’s Nursery to help babysitters, or other occasional caregivers learn and decode the most commonly used baby signs. (Regularly $9.95)
Baby Sign Language Guide Book
Learn the best techniques for effectively teaching baby sign language. Including:
• Quick Start Guide – learn the first 10 signs and the basic principles required to start teaching your baby to sign (Chapter 1).
• Advanced Teaching Methods – use teaching aids like books, flash cards, and toys to keep lessons interesting and challenging (Chapter 5).
• Phrases – teach your baby to combine signs and communicate more complex thoughts (Chapter 6).
• Taming the Terrible Twos – reduce frustration and tantrums by enabling your toddler to communicate (Chapter 7).
• Transitioning to Speech – use sign language to expedite and improve speech development (Chapter 8).
Baby Sign Language Flash Cards
52 high quality flash cards (4 x 6″). Featuring:
• Clean Images – real life pictures, isolated on a white background to make learning easier.
• Signs on the Rear – diagrams on the back illustrating the signign motion in case you need a reminder.
• Baby Friendly – printed on thick stock so little hands can play with the cards and they will live to play another day.
Baby Sign Language Dictionary
The Baby Sign Language Dictionary includes :
• Words (500+) – learn signs for nearly every topic of interest.
• Letters – sign the alphabet and teach basic spelling.
• Numbers (0-10) – introduce counting and basic mathematics.
Baby Sign Language Wall Chart
The full color wall chart (24 x 36″) includes 17 everyday signs. Use the wall chart for:
• Caregivers – help babysitters and other caregivers learn the basic signs so they can understand baby’s signs.
• Family – teach family the basic signs so they can join in the fun.