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Learn the top signs to teach your baby that they can use before they are able to speak in words.
Previously I was a speech therapist, so I was really interested in teaching my baby early signs for them to use before they could actually use words.
10 Top Signs to Teach Your Baby
As a Speech Therapist, I value being able to communicate with your baby as early as possible. Babies are born with innate language centers in their brain and are already learning and distinguishing sounds in the womb!
As a baby grows and develops they are quickly picking up on new sequences for meaning as well. For example, when you are developing a bedtime routine, your baby is learning the sequence that happens before they go to sleep.
Even more specifically, babies can learn signs and match them to meaning (or sequences they have learned).
Why Should we Teach Signs to Babies?
Have you even really thought about how complex the process is to make a word? Let’s think about it for a minute. You think of an idea in the area of your brain that holds your words and language. Your brain sends that message to the part of your brain responsible for motor control and movement (motor cortex).
Then, that message goes to the individual muscles that need to know how fast, how hard, and when to move. Whew! And we do it all in about a second!
For babies, speaking is very complex for their developing brains. The movements needed for different sounds are so difficult, some are not even mastered until age 5.
Using sign language, is much easier for babies to master.
Babies understand FAR MORE than they are able to communicate through speaking.
You can start showing signs at any time, we start around 4-6 months right when babies are starting to become more aware of using sounds and hearing changes in your tone of voice.
Teaching your baby sign language will improve their language ability.
Research shows us that babies who learned sign language showed improved cognitive and emotional development. Their rate of verbal development was also increased.
What makes a Good Sign?
A sign can be anything that you associate with a word. You can make up an original sign for these words, or you can use the suggested movements. You want the sign to be easy enough that a baby can learn and copy. You also want it to be easy for you to remember (makes sense to you that a certain sign goes with a word).
How to Teach Signs to your Baby?
Start just by modeling the sign when you say the word. When we are teaching “Sleepy” or “Tired”, we will say right before bedtime “Annaleigh is Sleepy (modelling the sign while saying sleepy)”
After a few times, you can even try to move the babies hand to mimic making the sign and say the word at the same time. When teaching “Milk” , I will model the sign while I am breastfeeding. Just like when learning to speak, there is no need to wait until one sign is mastered to teach the next.
You can start teaching them all at once.
These are the signs we use. These may not be ASL (American Sign Language), but they hold meaning and that is what makes them a sign.
10 Top Signs to Teach Your Baby
I love you
Have you taught your baby any signs?
What signs were the most helpful?
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We did signs with my 5 year old when she was a baby. She picked up on them so easily and I have been starting them now with my newest little one.
Love it!! I know my daughter is using a few signs, and it just makes life easier when they can start communicating.