Baby sign language is becoming a popular way of communicating with infants. After 4 months, babies are considered to have reached a phase where they are developmentally ready to communicate with their parents by means of signs. Here are some of the most popular signs you might wish to learn so as to understand your baby better.
MORE – tapping fingertips together twice to show that you want more.
DONE – showing that there is nothing in your hands so as to demonstrate that whatever was being done is now ready or finalized, or that something is all gone.
MEDICINE – circling the middle finger in the center of the palm in an attempt to symbolize mixing medicine. This is a great sign for babies who are experiencing teething problems and who can thus show you that they need some medicine to ease the pain or discomfort.
EAT – your baby signalling that putting food in the mouth to show that he/she wants to eat.
MILK – the sign is similar to the movement when milking a cow. This sign is also used for nursing or when feeding your child with a bottle.
CHANGE – rotating fists back and forth shows that it is time for a diaper change.
HELP – the bottom hand lifts the other hand to show a helping hand, or tapping both hands on the chest.
BATH – a movement as if you are washing your chest.
PLAY – making a Y sign with the fingers while swinging hands back and forth.
SLEEP – closing eyes to show it is time to go to sleep.
BANANA – bananas are a common first food. So it is a good idea to signal a banana by using the finger pointing outwards to symbolize the banana and the other hand is peeling it.
WATER – create a W with the three middle fingers and move back and forth against the lips to show the need for water.
BOOK – a sign as if you are opening and closing a book.
DOG – patting the leg to call the dog. Very helpful if you have a dog at home.
CAT – tracing a cat’s whiskers on the face.
SHARE – signalling dividing something by passing one hand back and forth over the fingers of the other hand.
BREAD – repetitive motion as if slicing bread.
BALL – holding hands in a circular way as if you are holding a ball.
PLEASE – rubbing your hand over the chest in a circular movement.
THANK YOU – touching the lips and moving the hand out as if blowing a kiss.
APPLE – putting the knuckle of the index finger to the cheek while twisting it.
It is important to bear in mind that your baby is not going to learn several signs at once. Give it time, and do not expect that the signs are going to be perfect. In time your little one will increase the precision as well as their repertoire of signs. Repetition is obviously important, and you need to do them confidently and often yourself if you expect your child to learn them and get used to them. The more they like something, the better it will be for them to learn it. This applies for food signs like banana, apple and bread.
You should avoid setting a certain time every day for signing. It is best to incorporate signing in regular daily activities as this will make things easier for the child. It is not only simpler but also more engaging and fun too. Just be patient and do not set your expectations too high. Some children take longer than others to get used to signs. Just keep at it without imposing on the child. And always maintain eye contact and make sure that the child is seeing your hands clearly. This is important for them to realize the connection between the word and the particular sign.
Baby signs can help your child communicate much earlier according to baby sign language proponents. They can also render communication easier, and help kids to speak sooner as well.