We don’t live in a perfect world and for many parents, trips to the hospital and hospital stays for their little ones are part of their reality. We know of several courageous little ones with chronic conditions that require specialized medical care and we have been delighted and impressed by their intelligence and ability to adapt to challenging circumstances. Many of these little ones use baby sign language as well as flashcards to facilitate communication with their caregivers.
For the rest of us visits to the hospital may not be as frequent but when they do happen it is important that toddlers are as comfortable as possible and well equipped to communicate their needs and wants.
Here is a sweet collection of signs to equip little ones to better navigate medical environments:
We are not including body parts on this list. A good way to help little ones communicate a pain is to teach them to point where it hurts.
You may also want to modify your hospital baby sign language deck to include your baby’s favorite signs such as teddy bear or other items of interest.
Share the signs with hospital staff by taping printable flashcards on the walls or consider printing the baby sign language chart of baby signs.
Check out this lovely story on how a mom used baby sign language to make a hospital stay easier on her little one.
We have already explored the best signs for babies to learn before going camping and to get ready for playground interaction. These activities while fun, don’t take place as frequently as dining out plus the setting allows little ones more freedom related to their behavior and mobility.
Today we are going to work on our baby signs for a type of outing that can sometimes be stressful as we work toward teaching our little ones gentleness, quiet interaction and good table manners. The final goal is to make sure our babies and toddlers enjoy their dining experience while allowing others at their table and around them to also enjoy the moment.
Signing with your baby in this context is extra important. It allows you to replace constant verbal reinforcement that sometimes can distract and interrupt other diners with a more subtle and child-friendly form of communication.
Let’s get our printers ready and build our dining out flashcard set:
Baby Sign Language for Restaurants
Working on teaching our babies and toddlers how to best behave at restaurants requires, time, patience, love and discipline. Please feel free to leave your best tips in the comments.
We are so thrilled to welcome milder weather! For us early fall means multiple opportunities for camping with our little ones. Sometimes we will hit the road and head camping at national parks, other times it is a simple as pitching our little tent in the backyard and letting imagination and love take over the rest.
If you are planning on camping with your baby or toddler we want to share with you a few signs to add to your camping baby sign flashcard deck:
We hope you enjoy this collection of baby signs and can’t wait to get your videos and photos of baby camping. Before you hit the road or head to the yard please remember to take basic precautions to keep your little ones safe:
- Don’t forget the insect repellant
- Don’t forget the sunscreen
- Babies and toddlers should always have identity tags or bands
- Manage your fire with care
- Don’t leave food unattended if you are camping in a park with bears
- Don’t feed the wildlife
As the weather becomes milder opportunities to do outdoor activities will certainly increase. For those of you entering the toddler stage it will be your very first opportunity to improve motor skills and enhance social skills by interacting at your local playground.
Now that your baby has mastered need-based signs such as milk, more, mom & dad we can begin to focus on expanding their baby sign language vocabulary as they become familiar with new objects and new settings.
In addition to new words it is important that we work on developing values and teaching manners. A social context such as the playground provides an excellent backdrop to help our toddlers become familiar with concepts such as sharing, taking turns, asking politely and apologizing.
Before you head out to the playground we encourage you to work on learning the following playground-friendly baby signs:
We know these signs will be super useful and extra fun. Before you head to the playground make sure you have applied sunscreen and bring along some water and snacks.
We can’t wait to see the videos of your little ones using baby sign language in the playground
One of the most humbling things about working with all our fans and friends in the journey of baby sign language is the opportunity to witness how babies develop communication skills.
We believe little ones should be exposed to a variety of intellectually and emotionally estimating environments that foster a better understanding of the world that surrounds them. Last week we shared with you a sweet and wonderful adventure at the Perot Museum of Science. It was lovely to see Max navigate in a new environment and use his signs to communicate needs and learn new signs.
This week we are sharing with you A Day at the Zoo. I had the opportunity to join Max and his family for this little field trip and was super impressed at his comfort with the world that surrounds him and his ability to reach out in a social context. Max frequently reached out to other babies and attempted to communicate using both words and signs
The best stories are those that inspire us. This baby sign language story does just that. Max has been progressing quickly and is starting to become a highly verbal child. He is a joy to be around and baby sign language truly reduces stress when it comes to his ability to express his needs and wants.
Spending the day with Max and his mom Danielle is magical and a testimony on how a working mother can have such a great influence in the educational development of a baby. Danielle has done a great job. Every single day Max shows a new skill, signs a new word and demonstrates a better understanding of his surroundings.
Max knows many signs for vegetables and fruits and he is really good about signing to communicate basic needs such as thirst, sleep or more.
As you watch this video where Danielle and Max visit the Perot Science museum I want you to notice that Max is able to identify the fossil model of a Mastodon as an “elephant”, He also makes the connection between a wolf and a dog.
A few awesome facts about Max:
- Max is attending a bilingual daycare. sign language serves as a transitional tool between English & Spanish.
- Max is highly advanced verbally and emotionally for his age. It is a delight to see him try to engage little ones and adults at every single outing.
- Max is not prone to meltdowns at all. He is a super happy baby and always ready to convey his needs. Mom is awesome too and quite receptive to his creativity. Max has invented his own signs as he learns to navigate the world.
- Max loves fruits and vegetables.
- Max also learns baby sign language at church. His newest sign is Jesus.
- Max receives lots of encouragement and baby sign language instruction from his older sister Olivia.
We hope you enjoyed this video. If you have ideas and suggestions of museums and parks in your own town that other parents might enjoy as a setting to expose babies to new things feel free to leave a comment.
Traveling with a baby presents a variety of challenges for the parents, the baby and those sharing the plane with you. Because everyone must eventually face their first time of traveling with baby we wanted to give you some quick tips to make it work.
The first step toward making traveling with baby comfortable and peaceful is to put yourself on your baby’s shoes and try to anticipate the needs, stressors and challenges they are likely to face pre-flight during the flight and upon arrival.
Pick Travel-Friendly Clothes
Dress yourself and baby with practical and comfortable clothes that allow ease of movement. Consider layering. Before the trip work on teaching baby the signs for hot and cold. Knowing how to convey discomfort as far as temperature is concerned will help a whole lot when it comes to keeping a calm and happy baby during the plane ride.
Bring Quiet Interactive Toys
Airplanes are not the best place to bring toys with lights or sounds. Unless your toddler is headset-ready bring smaller, quiet interactive toys such as signing books, or books with a variety of tactile input via texture. Also consider a small teddy with heartbeat or womb sounds.
Sucking Motion to Manage Ear Pressure
During take-off and landing consider giving baby a pacifier or allowing him to latch and nurse to reduce the discomfort caused by atmospheric pressure.
Pack Smart Snacks
Keep snacks handy for baby and teach him to sign their favorites such as cereal or bread. Stay away from messy snacks that might result in awkward moments with your row neighbors.
Be the Buffer
If you are in a three seat row and you have reserved a seat for your baby or toddler position yourself as a human buffer by taking the center seat.
Play with Flashcards
If your toddler has a rich signing vocabulary consider bringing flashcards with you or printing a mini set. Show your toddler a card and ask them to sign for you. This will keep their hands and their minds busy.
Burn Some Energy Before Boarding
Consider taking your toddler for a walk before boarding the plane or plan the flight schedule around their nap time Teach baby the sign for sleep so that he can convey his need for rest.
Be a Good Neighbor
Earplugs cost pennies. Bring several pairs and have them handy as a peace offering for your fellow travelers. It is a small gesture that can go a long way
Mama Sets the Tone
Babies can sense stress. Be a calm and peaceful traveler and handle situations as they come. Babies read emotions and quickly adopt the same attitude you are portraying.
In an effort to give our little ones the best of the best sometimes we take ourselves a bit too seriously. Because learning should be both engaging & fun we wanted to share with you four practical ideas to add a little extra to your learning process. By adding a little fun we hope you will remember your baby sign language journey fondly and you will enthusiastically share it with others. Incorporate this tips to our daily learning routine and see magic happen.
Signs & Songs
Make Baby Signing Time part of your visual and musical repertoire. Music accelerates learning and makes for happy babies. Another option is to incorporate signs to your favorite baby songs and customize the whole experience for your little one.
Make it a point to celebrate and respond each time your little one shows learning progress. Encourage them with sweet words and an extra dose of affection. Invent a happy dance to mark achievements.
Take a Little Topical Field Trip
Head to the store and visit the produce section. Use the produce to introduce baby to the way each vegetable looks prior to cutting or preparation. Take a few precut snacks to reward baby and create an additional layer of association between the word, the prepared fruit or veggie and raw produce.
Make Your Toddler a Star
Introduce your little one to the magic of videos. Record them while they are showing you their best baby sign and then invite them to watch the video with you. Ask about the baby in the video to further their self awareness.
Just a quick stop to share with you this wonderful food stages infographic. We love to see how babies begin to sign food items based on their preferences.
credit: she knows Australia
We found this nice infographic showing baby milestones by age. As far as baby sign language we find that most babies will know their first sign between five months and 11 months and will explode in signing by month 17 and which time they are showing really fast progress with their verbal skills.
We love to hear how your baby is progressing and achieving communication, motor skills, emotional expression and growth milestones.
Having babies at the same time as your friends can set the stage for wonderful social interaction and the ability to share joys and sorrows as families grow. Together with your friends you will work toward achieving early childhood milestones such as walking, sitting and baby sign language.
Many of our friends have sent us stories highlighting how most of the learning for their babies takes place in a social context such as daycare of play group. These are beautiful stories that we cherish but life is not always perfect. We frequently get notes from moms and dads wanting to know how to help friends facing delays in learning or simply measuring their little one against the milestones of their peers.
Just last week I received a phone call from a mom asking for guidance and resources for her best friend. Both have 17 month old baby girls, both started baby sign language at birth and continue to teach it contextually and by using signing time song videos. Baby Miranda started signing at six months and now signs over 45 signs. Baby Laura started signing at 8 months, she recognizes about 8 signs and signs 4 consistently. Her signs are milk, more, dog & mom. Both baby girls attend the same daycare and socialize in the same playgroup Miranda has started talking and is able to combine up to three words. Laura is not talking yet. When Miranda’s mom called me she wanted some help to be able to assist Laura’s mom and see if Laura could catch up. She is mainly concerned about feelings getting hurt and Laura’s mom feeling like she is dropping the ball.
Chances are many of you are in a similar situation and we wanted to give you some practical tips:
Celebrate Every Achievement With Equal Enthusiasm
Look for milestones and be a participant of the celebration. If the babies around you are showing progress in other areas such as coordination or good eating habits acknowledge it and make a big deal of it.
Watch the way you convey your message. It is not the same to say Miranda knows 45 signs than to say Miranda knows 40 signs more than Laura.
Maximize Your Strengths
If your friend is gifted at sports and you are a better teacher of communication skills work together as a team gifting each baby with love and patient instruction.
Engage in Learning-Oriented Play
Set the stage for fun games where learning takes place and involve both babies. Many little ones learn best from their peers using principles of teaching commonly applied at Montessori schools. You can also let them watch Signing Time videos together to help them connect song, verbal skills and rythm to each sign.
Print or Purchase Matching Materials for Both Babies
If your friend’s budget or schedule is limited consider sharing your time and resources by creating flashcard decks to match the interests of their baby or purchasing a baby sign language kit to facilitate at-home lessons
It is tempting to feel superior because of the achievements of your little ones. Let love be the dominant factor and invest in your friend’s baby as if it was your own.