Signing: Afraid starts with your hands by your sides. Then you bring your hands up in front of your body, palms facing inward and fingers spread. The sign looks a lot like you just got a big fright.
The same sign is used in baby sign language (and ASL) for afraid, scare, and frightened. And remember, when doing any of these signs – really sell the sign with your facial expressions. You want to look scared and frightened.
Usage: Introduce afraid when you notice baby in a situation that is causing them to be fearful. Because these tend to be highly memorable situations for baby, they tend to make the connection to the sign quickly.
Afraid is a useful sign for intermediate babies. It lets them communicate to you what events cause them concern. The things causing baby distress can often be things we find innocuous such as a a loud blender. And once you know that something is causing your baby concern it is usually easy to either avoid it or to help baby overcome their fear. Often just naming the emotion does a lot to reduce their anxiety.
Afraid is usually used when the something unexpected and unpleasant happened. When the news is pleasant or neutral, we usually use surprise.
Flash Card: Click the link to view the Afraid Baby Sign Language Flash Card. The flash cards are printable and available in both U.S. Letter and A4 sizes.