Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baby sign language

Baby sign language is more than just a trend—it can offer a variety of benefits to parents and babies alike. Try teaching your child a few basic signs to improve communication.

Learning the Signs

Every child is different, but most babies can begin learning sign language at about 7 to 8 months old. Teaching your baby to sign requires patience, repetition and plenty of praise. Start with basic signs, and make the process as fun as possible by incorporating sign language into favorite activities, such as singing or dancing.  This is important so the child learns the meaning and how to produce the spoken word, as well as the sign.

Top Six Signs to Teach Your Baby

Since repetition is key, begin with simple signs that can be used in everyday situations. Start with these basic words:

  • Eat. Touch the tip of your thumb to your fingers on the same hand and tap your hand on your mouth.
  • More. Form both hands into O shapes and bring them together and separate them repeatedly.
  • All done. Put both hands up in front of you with palms facing out. Repeatedly rotate your palms inward, then outward.
  • Diaper. Place your hands at waist level and tap your index and middle finger to your thumbs on each hand as if you are playing castanets.
  • Hot. Form your hand into a claw shape over your mouth. Move the hand away from your mouth, rotating it so the sign ends with your palm facing outward.
  • Thank you. Flatten your hand and touch your fingertips to your chin. Bring your fingers forward as if you are blowing a kiss.

These are just a few useful signs to teach your child. As your baby masters them, continue expanding his or her vocabulary with new signs.
Reviewed by Michelle Wagner-Escobar, M.A., C.C.C.-A., audiologist, Ear, Nose and Throat Center, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent

1 comment:

Denny said...

Can babies that are only 7 or 8 months old do this? I thought their motor skills were still developing at that age. Can a baby really learn to form both hands into O shapes and bring them together and separate them repeatedly to express more??