So I’m now super late in getting this post up, and then HuffPo just had a post about signing with your baby, but this post has cute Harry pictures and video.
I don’t even remember where I first heard of signing with your baby/toddler, but I always knew I wanted to do it.
Not only is it a great way to communicate with your baby before he learns to say words, it’s also just ridiculously cute.
(Aside from what works for us, I am pretty uneducated about signing, so I am hoping some of my smarter friends will chime in below.)
We started with the basic signs (milk, eat, all done, please, thank you), as these are the signs they did in the infant room in Harry’s school. For other signs, I just looked them up online. (Signing Time has a great app with a few dozen signs with video examples, as well as a few music videos, but we have never watched or used any Signing Time DVDs. But I know a lot of kiddos who love them and have learned how to sign from the videos.)
Most babies are able to learn signs before they learn to say words. And just like they babble before they speak, they “babble” in sign language too.
Harry was doing things that I thought were signs before he was signing for real. They’re eager to communicate with you, and you with them. So before they can hold a converation, this is the start.
Signs he knows (most used in italics):
*Signs he now pairs with the word. (So he will sign and say “more,” for example.)
Signs he recognizes but doesn’t sign back:
We started when he was very wee. I’d sign milk every time we gave him a bottle, and his daycare teachers would as well. I think he was about 10 months or so when he first signed it back.
The first sign he started to do with real frequency was more. He started by tapping one finger into his palm (actually what he is doing in that above video).
And after his first birthday, it was like a sign explosion. It’s to the point now where he is able to pick up a new sign in just a day or so. My biggest hurdle is just first teaching myself.
And the million dollar question: do you think they cut down on tantrums?
Yes, I think so. He can ask for what he wants (he signs “more” when he wants me to sing, because there is a song that uses the more sign, so it’s sort of his general please-sing-a-song-mommy word/sign), he can tell us when he wants his water or milk; he can tell us when he’s all done; he can understand what I’m asking for when I ask him to get his shoes or tell him to wait or that it’s time for a bath. And the kicker is, he can answer me back.
I also think it’s helping with the development of manners, because I can ask him to say please and he can say please (before he could actually say it).
Now that he knows yes and no, I can ask him a question, and he can answer yes or no with signs. It’s pretty remarkable.
Do you sign with your baby or toddler? If you have tips or tricks, or just want to share why you love it, I’d love to hear it!