This is a guest post written by Misty Weaver.
Baby Sign Language is a way of teaching your baby to communicate using special hand gestures. It’s fun, it’s free, and best of all it really works! Based on ASL (American Sign Language), baby sign language is a simplified version for babies and young children. You can start to sign with your baby from birth – The sooner you start the sooner your baby will begin to sign. When teaching baby sign language it’s important to be consistent, have fun, repeat the signs as often as you can, and have a lot of patience.
How To Start With Baby Sign Language
Start with signs you can use every day. Signs like Mommy, Daddy, Milk and More are great for beginners. Signs that represent something which is exciting or interesting to your baby will be easier for him to learn. Begin with these starter signs then build up your repertoire to include other objects, ideas and emotions.
How To Sign With Your Baby
Practice the signs beforehand so you feel confident and clear about what you’re doing. You need to make the sign every time you say the relevant word to your baby. Say the word that goes with the sign clearly, with good eye contact, while pointing to the thing or person you are describing. It’s important to repeat the sign as often as possible. Be sure to sign when your baby is alert and not tired.
Using Baby Sign Language For Potty Training
At least three months before you plan to begin potty training, start using the signs for wet and dry, and pee and poo, and potty. Use the signs for wet and dry when bathing or washing and drying hands. This will help when it comes to showing your toddler the difference between a wet diaper and a dry one, so he can understand when he has done a pee.
When you begin to sit him on the potty, make a big fuss when he does a pee, and show him the sign for Pee every time. Encourage him to sign for pee when he does one, even in his diaper. The same for poo. When there are accidents (and there will be!), stay calm and merely sign Wet, so he knows what it feels like to wet himself.
Once he gets the hang of going on the potty, it will be easy for your toddler to tell you with Baby Sign Language when he needs the potty, or if he’s had an accident, whatever his language skills at the time.
Make It Fun
Baby sign language can be an important part of communication for parents and babies, but it works best when you make it fun. Don’t take signing – or potty training – too seriously. Sign as part of your everyday routine and enjoy it! If you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong. Your baby will only pick up the signs and want to use them if he sees that you are enjoying signing too.