My daughter has mastered two signs, those for dog and milk. It is not uncommon for babies to apply those early signs to a wide variety of things. For example, the baby will sign milk when she wants to nurse, but also when she eats, is sleepy, or wants me to hold her. This is not incorrect usage when you consider what milk means to her; it is food, cuddling, mother, and a sleepy-time activity. Similarly, dog also means excitement and play time for her.
She has divided her world into two categories: Dogs and Milk. Dog refers to anything fun and playful. Milk refers to anything comforting and nourishing. Makes sense to me 🙂
How do you help baby to move beyond those 1st few signs in a positive way?
1st, acknowledge that baby is using signs to communicate. Say “Yes, good signing!”
2nd, offer baby a more accurate sign. For example, when Rose signs milk when she is eating solids, I say “Good signing, you are eating (while signing eat).”
Never discourage signing when a baby uses a sign inaccurately. Signing, even when somewhat inaccurate, is an amazing gesture of communication that requires advanced physical and psychological skills. Remember to keep signing fun and positive, and to enjoy the quirky ways in which your baby applies signs. Perhaps we are living in a world of Dogs and Milk after all.