Step Two: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
The secret to learning Baby Sign Language is lots of repetition. To teach your baby those first few baby signs, you need to give them lots of exposure to the signs. That means doing the signs over and over. With a lot of repetition your baby will quickly learn their first few signs.
Research by Dr. Joseph Garcia, one of the founders of Baby Sign Language, found that a typical baby starting at seven months old needs about two months of repetition and exposure to a sign to start using it. If you compare that to walking and talking – two months is really fast. So keep doing lots of repetition and before you know it you will both be signing up a storm.
When to Start: A good time to start Baby Sign Language is at 6 – 9 months. At that age, babies start to be really receptive to signs and you are almost certain to see some signing back in the next ten weeks.
You can of course start even earlier. You can even do pre-natal baby sign language if you want! Babies whose parents are signing from birth will learn a little quicker, but you do need to be more patient because you will have to sign to them for longer. You may be lucky and get an early signer, but should not expect results before seven months.
Timing Your Signs: There are three times when you can perform the sign: before, during, and after the event you are trying to communicate. Try and do all three. So if you wanted to teach the baby sign for dog, make the sign as the dog approaches, once the dog comes to your baby, then again as the dog leaves.
Line of Sight: You want to keep your signs in your baby’s field of vision. Try and wait until your baby’s gaze and attention comes toward you. Sometimes you may need to reposition yourself or your baby so that you are between her and the subject. There is no need to try and force the issue if your baby is distracted. Don’t worry, her attention will return to you eventually and you will have lots of other chances to make the sign.
2. Incorporating Signing into Daily Routines
The majority of your signing practice is going to come from signing along to daily routines. Young children thrive on routine and repetition and so most parent will keep them on a schedule. You can incorporate signing into these routines
For example, baby’s day may start with cereal. You might baby a little cereal, then sign more before giving them a little more. This will continue until they are all done. You could do a similar routine during each meal.
Other typical routines throughout the day may include changing diapers, bath time, walk time, being put down for a nap, and turning on/off the light.
3. Create Opportunities
As well as the signs you will use in day-to-day life you can create opportunities to sign less every day signs. You can read books, sing songs, or do flash cards to teach less common signs. For example while reading a board book about animals, you may get several opportunities to make animal signs that you would not encounter in everyday life.
4. Baby Initiated
As your child get more advanced and acquires more signs, a lot of the repetition is going to come from baby initiated signing. Baby will see something or recall something that make her sign, for example signing hungry. When baby makes a sign, you will acknowledge the sign by signing back and saying the word out loud.
Next Page: Step Three – Encourage Effort
Previous Page: Step One – Make it Fun
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.