Start with just a few signs .A general guideline is to introduce as many signs as your baby is old…so if your child is 6 months old you could teach 6 signs.
Always use the sign and the word together to help your baby make the connection
Repeat the sign and word.Make sure your baby is watching then quickly repeat the sign and word combination several times.
Point whenever possible.If the object is out of reach point to it and say the word while making the sign.
Gently guide your baby’s hands when teaching them to do the sign.If your baby resists then don’t force the issue.Your baby’s motor skills are also limited so don’t expect your child to do the sign perfectly.
Make signing a part of your daily routine.Teach signs during mealtime, bedtime, bath time, etc.You can put reminders of the signs you are teaching in various spots such as a rubber duck in the bathtub.
Watch for opportunities.Be on the lookout for things to talk about with signs.
Be flexible when signing.Sometimes babies make up their own signs.
Remember to be patient.Younger babies take longer than older ones to learn.Sometimes babies put their language skills on the back burner when they are focusing on crawling and /or walking.
Have fun with the program.Praise and encourage your baby often.Remember this program is meant to simplify your life, not stress you out!
About the author: Monique DeBrouwer, BScN, is a nurse and a Baby Signs® Canada independent certified instructor for Durham and Clarington. To find out more about signing, or to contat Monique, please visit www3.sympatico.ca/debrouwer.lmm or www.babysigns.ca