Fall is right around the corner and many pre-verbal little ones are about to begin a new phase in their life and for the first time attend daycare. If you are heading back to work and your baby or toddler is about to begin daycare or Montessori with none or very limited verbal skills consider teaching him the following baby signs:
If the needs and preferences of your little one are slightly different let us know in the comments. We would love to compare notes and find out which signs you feel are indispensable as your little one heads to daycare. Also consider giving your daycare provider a baby sign language wall chart
I frequently get questions from moms struggling with the pace of learning of their little ones. First-time moms are generally the ones most likely to reach out with concerns hoping that somewhere, somehow there is a by-the-book answer that tells us down to the minute when our babies will reach every single milestone.
General guidelines are without doubt helpful when it comes to child development and we often refer to them specifically as it relates to your baby signing. We have captured statistics by polling moms and have made observations with our own babies. For example, we know that the majority of babies will sign between 6 to 12 months and some will know up to five signs before their first birthday. But what if your baby does not follow this pattern? Don’t lose hope, all babies are in a constant process of learning and absorbing new information. Babies are processing and learning far more than we can ever imagine. Their pace of response can vary widely but every baby is learning and as a parent your role is to continue teaching:
Continue teaching joyfully-Your baby deserves it
Continue to innovate-Try new methods of teaching to discover baby’s learning style
Continue teaching lovingly-Your primary role is to nurture, learning will fall into place in due time
Continue to have hope-Babies can sense discouragement and apathy
Stop comparing-Your baby is unique and their progress should be measured and tracked against their own daily achievements.
You are doing well. Before you know it you will have a little walking chatterbox and you will face a completly different set of didactic challenges. Those too will be conquered in due time.
We recently received this email and photo from Tamara S. Tamara follows us on Facebook and has a 13 month old baby girl named Roxana.
I started teaching Roxana baby sign language the moment she was born. I really dear friend had given me the Deluxe Baby Sign Language Kit while I was on bed rest due to a difficult pregnancy. By the time Roxana was born my husband and I knew how to sign at least five basic signs. We signed to Roxana all the time but never had formal sessions. All of our signing was contextual. For example: I would sign milk when I was nursing her or daddy when daddy arrived home.
By the time Roxana turned six months old she appeared to recognized several signs and was starting to sign milk. Motivated by the video sign language stories I started setting time aside to teach Roxana more intentionally. We started by using models of animals using small figurines that we borrowed from our older boy. By the time Roxana turned 10 months she knew several animals. For fruits and vegetables I combined the real fruits and vegetables with plastic models I purchased at a craft store. We also taped printed flashcards for food items on our refrigerator.
We feel a very important part of parenting is to make sure Roxana is safe and comfortable, since temperature can be a hazard associated to many things, like food, bath time and even the hot sidewalk we wanted Roxana to be able to grasp the meaning of hot and cold. In the beginning of June we began teaching Roxana temperatures. To help her understand the difference we printed the large version flashcards and placed them under the protective glass on our dining table. Each day at meal time we would bring out two cups one with iced water and the other one with warm water. We would guide Roxana’s fingers to touch both cups at different times and would immediately follow it with the sign. We later replaced the water with frozen blueberries and warm blueberry compote. We continued to rotate the cold and warm items for a period of three weeks. By July 4th Roxana surprised us by touching her bath water and signing hot. Later in the week she tried to take an ice cube from my sweet tea and signed cold immediatly after pulling her hand from my cup!!
This method worked for us and I wanted to share it with other moms & dads. Thank you so much for helping us communicate with our baby.
It is very encouraging for us at babysignlanguage to receive your stories & testimonies. Thank you Tamara for such a wonderful tip!
If you want to share your story or video with us send it to [email protected]
If you have been our friend for a while now, you know we are the largest resource for free baby sign language material. Each week thousands of moms head to our baby sign language flashcard directory and print their choice of flashcards to help baby learn new signs. We have hundreds of beautiful full color flashcards for those who have already mastered our core 52-card baby sign language flashcard set.
Today I want to share with you a simple and practical hack to help you save on ink and take your flashcard experience to the next level. Let’s learn together how to transfer our baby sign language flash cards to the Kindle Fire device. Most of us have a Kindle for our own enjoyment but generally we don’t take full advantage of the range of features it offers. This is a super simple hack that will bring you many hours of fun learning with baby without having to print or having to be connected to the internet. A great project to complete before you go on a long road trip this summer.
For this hack you will need the following:
- A Kindle Fire
- Your personal computer or Mac
- An email account
1. Go to our homepage at www.babysignlanguage.com select the drop down menu for flashcards.
2. Now go to the word you would like to transfer to your Kindle.
3. Once you have opened your word of choice select and click on the PDF that reads US Letter size on the left.
4. When the PDF is open select the download icon on the right hand next to the printer icon.
5. Save the file to your computer.
6. On the top menu of your Kindle Fire click on the Docs tab. Once it opens it will display at the top the email that corresponds to your device. Usually it reads like this: [email protected]
7. Head to your personal email account and create an email from you to your kindle account. Attach the file you just downloaded and hit send. Note that you can attach several files to the same email.
8. Go to your Kindle Fire and the file will now display in two places, your recent library as seen below, or under the document tabs depending on your settings.
9. Tap on the file to open!
This is something you can do with pretty much any tablet. We love to do it on the Kindle because it is durable, has a long battery life and I don’t need to plug the device via USB. It is also just the right size for little hands.
The Babysignlanguage.com Family
Earlier this year we invited everyone to participate in our Summer of Signing Challenge, Jayde and Mika were the first one to accept the challenge and we were delighted to receive their video where Mika shows us a ton of wonderful baby signs for her favorite things.
You still have time to enter the Summer of Signing Challenge, while we are currently out of Premium Kits due to high demand you can purchase the Standard Baby Sign Language Kit and still qualify for a 100% refund on the price of your purchase upon submitting a qualified video.
This is their story:
“When I was pregnant with my daughter, a friend told me that her daughters were learning sign language at daycare and explained how brilliant it is that they are able to tell her when they want milk instead of water and not have a tantrum over it.
I was so amazed by the concept that I decided I would make a point of joining a class and exposing my child to sign language as soon as we could.
I researched and found a great 8 week introductory class which we attended once a week when Mika was about 8 months.
It took her until she was about 10 months to actually sign milk and from then on, she LOVES to sign and truly gets great pleasure in her needs being met & us understanding her right away.
The class we did used a bunch of the songs from Signing Time including the theme song; “It’s signing time with Alex & Leah” in fact this was the first song I’d seen her dance too! It was played at the beginning of class and I would play it for her too at home when I’d set aside time to sign with her, it’s a great introduction to “signing time.”
Mika is 16 months now and loves to point out everything she sees, the neighbours cat, birds on the wires, dogs that cross our path, the flowers she sees and butterflies that fly by.
It’s a pleasure to feed her because she signs eat if she’s hungry, let’s me know when she would like more and signs all done so I can clear her plate before any messes.
Sign language has been an absolute gift for us and I’m so thankful that we started when she was 6 months and now can sign so much to us.
Mika’s favorite signs at the moment include “outside” since she loves the outdoors and pointing out all the things she sees,
“water” she is obsessed with swimming and any body of water, especially when it comes from the sprinklers or a hose pipe and fountains. Getting dressed is also fun now since she loves to sign shoes and hat which always remind me to check we have both before we leave the house.
Grass is her latest word.
My personal favorites are her manner signs, please & thank you.
I think it’s too sweet for words to ask me for “more please” when I give her, it’s met with a “thank you” sign.
My heart melts for good manners and it’s wonderful to see her use these at the park when other kids share their snack or toys.”
We absolutely adore how Jayde has been looking forward to signing with her baby from the time she was pregnant. The last trimester is a fantastic time to get ready for your little ones by learning the basic signs.
We are also thrilled to see how Mika has progressed from communicating her needs to expressing complex sentiments such as gratitude and generosity as she engages with other little ones in play.
Thank you so much Jayde & Mika for letting us be part of your life.
The www.babysignlanguage.com Family
1. Baby Sign Language enhances the bond with your child
2. Baby Sign Language reduces frustration
3. Baby Sign Language gives you an early start for new concepts
4. Baby Sign Language facilitates caregiver communication
5. Baby Sign Language increases IQ
6. Baby Sign Language helps siblings work together toward a common goal
7. Baby Sign Language refines and perfects motor skills
8. Baby Sign Language helps the multilingual child make connections
9. Baby Sign Language makes game dynamics with pre-verbal children easier
10. Baby Sign Language is great for distance commands without screaming
11. Baby Sign Language helps your baby expand their horizons
12. Baby Sign Language aids little ones when unable to speak temporarily for health reasons
13. Baby Sign Language lets little ones communicate discomfort and pain
14. Baby Sign Language adds dimension to pre-verbal play groups
15. Baby Sign Language helps babies convey emotions such as sad, happy & tired
Modeling Baby Sign Language Helps Baby Perfect Finer Motor Skills
16. Baby Sign Language is great for adoptive parents trying to build language bridges
17. Baby Sign Language can help manage negative behaviors such as biting by allowing the adult to sign “stop” instead of raising their voice.
18. Baby Sign Language equips little ones to convey food preferences and dislikes
19. Baby Sign Language is a great way to keep baby occupied while running errands
20. Baby Sign Language can help you introduce baby to groups and set such as colors, shapes, animals or fruits
BSL Helps You Make Every Minute Count!
21. Baby Sign Language helps improve focus & attention during the first year
22. Baby Sign Language is an excellent support activity when reading books to baby
23. Baby Sign Language helps make road trips with toddler more bearable
24. Baby Sign Language helps your child be ahead of their peers when it comes to communicating
25. Baby Sign Language adds dimension to teaching baby musical skills
BSL helps baby make associations as he discovers music
26. Baby Sign Language makes bedtime routines easier to communicate
27. Baby Sign Language introduces baby to mimicry setting the stage for life-long learning
28. Baby Sign Language empowers you and your little one
29. Baby Sign Language facilitates early social interactions
30. Baby Sign Language is cool over 30,000 Facebook fans agree.
Recently my friend Erin emailed me feeling a little restless and frustrated with the learning progress of her youngest a sweet little boy named Timothy. Erin is a mom of three, her youngest a darling little boy about to turn 15 months old. With her girls Erin had great success using baby sign language at home and having the girls sign at daycare where they had adopted the babysignlanguage.com curriculum. Jenna her oldest signed milk one day before turning six months old. As for Miranda, she was signing over 25 signs by the time she turned 14 months old.
Learn How Boys & Girls Learn Differently
Timothy attends the same daycare as his sisters and in addition to mom & dad signing at home he receives a ton of reinforcement from his sisters. With everything in place Erin expected to see a similar timeline in pre-verbal communication development to the one she experienced with the girls. Timothy, at 15 months old only signs sporadically and mainly for things like milk and dog. Erin, I am writing this for you but also for the thousands of moms who are working hard to give their babies an edge when it comes to communication. Here are some indicators that your baby is about to start signing:
Smiles are Signs Too-Read a Post Full of Hope
Your little one is looking at you and is engaged as you sign. Baby follows your hands with his or her eyes. Keep in mind that younger ones struggle with focus and it is up to you as a parent to identify if they are following your hands.
When you are signing to baby he smiles and appears to enjoy the learning process. A smile is a response and evidence of engagement.
Particularly for a toddler that is already standing look for signs of engagement with the activity. Your baby stretches their hands trying to touch the model, prop or flashcard. Your baby seems relaxed and attentive.
It is extra important to remember that babies have limited fine motor skills. Take a close look at their hand movements. It is entirely possible that your little one is already signing and you have not acknowledged the sign because their movements are not exactly accurate.
If you are reinforcing the word in tandem with the sign your little one might just attempt to mimic sounds at the same time that they process the sign. If your baby is responding with sound you may just be around the corner from a baby sign language explosion.
If you are feeling discouraged and need a sense of community please join us on our Facebook page and let’s keep the conversation going!
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.
When it comes to raising and educating little ones there is no better encouragement than community. At babysignlanguage.com we have found that we can help you in your own baby sign language learning process by giving you an insider’s view of the learning progress of babies growing up in families just like yours.
Ancsi (Janina’s mom) is a great friend of the baby sign language community and you can often find her on Facebook giving encouragement and tips to other moms and caregivers. Ancsi lives in California and hosts baby sign language group learning sessions using the baby sign language flashcards.
Ancsi began signing to Janina when Janina was 2 months old. Janina signed for the first time at seven months old. Baby sign language has proved to be very useful as a transitional tool for multilingualism as Janina learns to navigate back and forth from Hungarian to English. At 18 months Janina can sign almost 100 baby signs. In her video update you will be able to see how Janina transitions from baby sign language into verbal expressions.
You can read their baby sign language story here
By creating her own signs and combining signs to convey concepts Janina is showing great cognitive development. Ancsi, thank you again for sharing your journey with us.
Learn more on how you can get the deluxe baby sign language kit 100% free from June 21st 2014 to July 21st 2014 by visiting the Summer of Signing Challenge Here
We can’t wait to receive and share your videos. Send them to [email protected]
As a parent you are tasked with the precious task of shaping the mind of a little person. Your mission is to help your babies discover the world that surrounds them and learn to effectively interact by communicating their needs and expressing their likes and interests. Watching a baby progress and achieve new heights in terms of communication and interaction is truly delightful.
We wanted to share with you a really special video that goes beyond watching the final results of baby sign language. In this sweet video, Ashleigh, mom to Ava gives us her testimony and shares useful tips and reminders of what is working for her as she walks alongside Ava in a journey of joyful learning.
If you are just starting in your baby sign language journey you will find Ashleigh’s interview highly encouraging and full of great ideas.
Thank you Ava & Ashleigh for your friendship we are truly enjoying watching Ava grow. She is a smart and beautiful little gir!
We love holidays and we are particularly enthusiastic about summer holidays and all the outdoor family fun that comes about with these celebrations. This weekend we are looking forward to many adventures and we hope you are too. A few years ago my husband and I witnessed a tragic accident that took the life of a little one no older than 20 months. Because life is precious and we feel your babies are part of our family we wanted to put together a list for you to share as this holiday approaches.
Fireworks are a No No
Fireworks and toddlers don’t go together. Not even sparklers or hanging out around older siblings with the maturity and motor skills to handle age-appropriate fireworks. Sparklers heat up to 1,800 degrees. That is hot enough to melt gold. The sparks can cause severe retina damage that can lead to blindness. If you must enjoy the fireworks head to a location with a firework display handled by professionals are sit far away where you can contemplate the beauty of the display. Each year a little over 6,000 children are injured by fireworks. Don’t let your little one become an statistic.
Grills, BBQs, Firepits & Babies
Babies are curious and love to explore the great outdoors. If grilling is not part of the regular household routine where you already have measures in place to keep little fingers away don’t let the inaugural grilling turn into a family tragedy. Not only should you keep baby away from the grill you also need to be aware of poisoning with lighter fluid. If you are in charge of grilling let someone else be in charge of baby. As a general rule of thumb all grills must have a 3 feet kid-free buffer zone even when the grill is not lighted. Not long ago a little toddler in our community topped the grill by grabbing to it while it was not in use and suffered serious injuries when the grill partially fell on him. As a final note, if you are unsure about your baby’s allergy profile or sensitivity to smoke please keep a careful eye. A family get-together is no time to discover your little one suffers from smoke-induced asthma.
Protect Their Skin & Eyes
Sunburns at an early age have long term consequences as it relates to skin cancer. By using solar protection for the skin and eyes not only are you avoiding immediate problems you are also providing your baby with a long term benefit. Make sure you are using a water and sweat resistant sunscreen that is baby-friendly and none-irritant. In addition to sunscreen please try to keep babies in the shade heat stroke in babies can be deadly.
Water Safety for Babies & Toddlers
About one of five people who die from drowning are children. Even if your little one has taken water safety and early childhood floating classes he is still at risk. Do everything in your power to keep baby away from the water even if you feel the water is shallow. Little ones should not play in baby pools without supervision. For larger pools, lakes and the beach make sure baby always has an approved floating device on. Slip & slides and splash pads are not for little ones under three. Even if their siblings are allowed to use them and offer to supervise or assist with baby think about it twice. The risk of head injury is very high. If you are having a beach vacation don’t allow babies and toddlers to play where the tide can still reach. You never know when the tide patterns will change presenting tremendous risk to your little one.
Events, Crowds & Outdoor Risks
Babies are prone to wonder. If you are joining an event with great traffic consider their safety. If you don’t have your baby in a body carrier and you are not opposed to “baby in a leash” by all means do it. Nothing more anxiety-inducing than a misplaced pre-verbal child. Use a band with their basic contact information. Dress baby in a noticeable color. If you are going camping always be baby-aware. There are endless stories of babies wondering in the woods and suffering severe dehydration and in some situation even death. Your little one is precious do whatever it takes to always know there whereabouts.
Happy Independence Day!