Communication is essential in life. With babies and toddlers, there can be frustration where there is a communication barrier. Your baby can’t talk just yet, unless you count da-da, ma-ma, and gurgles. Laura Berg, founder of “My Smart Hands,” a sign language program, believes the best age to start signing is 4-8 months.
As your baby gets older, the need to communicate becomes more urgent. For example, my son, Levi, just started eating solids. It would be nice if he could tell me when he wants me to continue feeding him or to stop. There are several easy baby signs you can introduce to your infant.
More - This was a lifesaver for my daughter. It is easy to teach to your little one so that they can tell you if they are still hungry. This sign is done by taking your hands and tapping your fingertips together.
All Done - With feeding, it is also nice to know when baby has had enough. All done is another first sign to teach your little one. This sign is done by holding your forearms up and rotating your hands back and forth.
Milk - Whether your baby is breastfed or formula fed, it is important for them to be able to ask for milk. Think of a cow. Simply open and close your hand like you are milking a cow and you’ve done this sign.
Click the link to see pictures and videos for these signs. Easy enough!
Thank you - This sign is often used for older infants, but it’s never too early to start teaching proper manners. To do this sign, extend your fingers and thumb. Bring your fingers to your chin and extend your fingers forward. Think of blowing a kiss to someone in slow motion.
Please - This sign is also better for older infants. Take your fingers and separate them from your thumb. Rub your hand in a circle on your chest with your palm facing out.
Repetition will help your baby learn, so use the sign each time you say the word. You can start using signs as early as you’d like. Lately, my daughter Johanna and I have been showing my little Levi how to sign “more.” It’s a fun way for her to be included in his mealtime, as well.
Sign language is a great way to reinforce language at a young age. There are so many valuable resources for moms online with sign language. Charts, videos, and even group classes exist to aid you in your sign language adventure. Have fun with it and teach your baby something new. You will be glad you did and feel super proud when your baby signs to you for the first time.
Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana. She loves being a mom and teaching her kids new things.