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Do You Sign With Your Baby?

Let me start of by saying that the title of this blog is a bit tongue and cheek. I’m calling it “Baby Signing for Beginners” because I
image of baby
only know a few signs! So let’s begin there. If you know and use others, feel free to laugh at me and teach me a thing or two as well! I’ve always used the following three baby signs when talking to my babies, starting at around seven or eight months: Eat, Drink and More. I figure, any way they can communicate their needs, the easier life will be for both of us. No matter how in tune I am with my children, I am still often baffled by the frustrated pointing and grunting that can quickly turn to angry howler monkey-like screeches. “How can you not understand me, Mommy! Aren’t we practically the same person??” And yes, while I can often read Cooper’s mind, it also important that he learns how to tell me what he needs with words or signs. Eat Signing “eat” is fairly straight forward--Pinch all of your fingers together like you are holding a piece of food and bring it to your mouth. Cooper does his own variations of signs as do other children, so sometimes he points to his mouth, sometimes he holds an imaginary piece food, sometimes his mouth is open, sometimes closed but I know what he wants when he does it. Drink To sign "drink" curl your fingers and thumb around an imaginary glass of water. With your left hand you will be forming the letter C (completely unrelated--that’s just the shape you want). Bring your hand to your mouth, touch your thumb to your lip and tilt your hand back as if you were drinking from a cup. Your baby may not be able to mimic your hand movements perfectly, just as if he were speaking verbally, he might be "signing" baby talk, but after a while you’ll catch on. More Signing “more” involves keeping the fingers on both of your hands straight and pinching them all together with your thumb. Then bring your hands in front of you and touch the tips of your fingers together. (Does that makes sense?) It’s hard to describe how to sign so what I suggest is to do some searching on YouTube and you’ll find videos of children and babies demonstrating the hand and finger motions. In fact, I just did this a moment ago with Cooper on my lap and he absolutely loved watching the babies. He kept signing “More! More!” These are the three signs that I use most, though I also know a few others like banana, ball, strawberry, milk and potty. Maybe I’ll add a few more to the repertoire since, unlike the girls, Cooper is a bit of caveman and prefers to point and grunt. Do you sign with your baby? Which signs are your favorite?
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  • We love signing, and it really started blowing up after 18 months. My son is perhaps a bit slow to speak but knows LOTS of signs. He will be two next month and we are still adding new signs each week. It’s especially fun at this age because he picks them up so quickly, after just seeing them a couple of times. It’s very useful! I’ve done a couple of blog posts about signing.

    For the commentors who say they don’t have time – If you have time to parent in general you have time to sign! It really doesn’t take much effort to get started, and there’s no all or nothing. Even one sign that aids communication with your child is totally worth it. I will add that my son didn’t pick up on his first sign until 10 months, so stick with it!

    We have done all the signs you mentioned but our faves right now are probably “more”, “again”, and “help.”

    Janine on
  • I signed a ton with my kids, but the only ones that stuck were food related!

    Cammie on
  • I want to try this! It seems like fun.

    Della on
  • We use the signs for tired, eat, and all done. I think the more sign would be helpful, though too! :)

    Kayla on
  • I really hope to sign with my daughter. She’s only 10 weeks old at this point, but I’m hoping around 6 months we can start trying!

    Lauren on

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