Communication through sign language with toddlers

Now that your baby is born, you tend to want to talk to them with the hope that they are able to understand the message you are trying to convey. Many a times you will find some responses highly amusing and encouraging but a lot of other times have you pretty much talking to yourself and your baby is also pretty much minding their own business with the little toy they are holding or losing focus altogether.

So what is the best method to actually start the whole communication process? Parents are usually encouraged to start signing to their babies instead of trying to talk too much as they would not be able to digest much you say even if the do look like they do understand. The most appropriate way to do this is to start being simple and use one worded signs. One thing for sure you will have to stay as simple as possible. Play around with 5 or less simple words and then move your way up from there. If your baby is used to the 5 words and start having some positive responses, then you can add in more words from there. Depending largely on every individual, before long your baby might just return your signs with the same gestures.

Consistency and patience are important

You have to be aware that at this point, your baby is starting to learn new things and your signs are one of their new knowledge they are acquiring. So it is imperative that you maintain consistency in the signs you are making to the baby. Never change the signs that you are using as it will only leave your baby more confused than they already are. Furthermore, if you use different signs every time, they are not able to reply you even if they want to. On top of that, you also cannot expect your baby to pick up your self made sign languages overnight. This is like a whole new language to them and they are learning to pick them up, so you will definitely need a lot of patience to slowly drill it into their memory. Take your time and don’t give up too easily.

Be relevant and spontaneous

When signing with your baby you have to maintain some form of relevance to them. This is where you should sign to them whenever you see an object. If you see a cat, sign to them a cat so that if you watch television later and the show has cats, you can reiterate the sign again. Never think that your baby is able to recall the cat after a few days as they would most likely have forgotten because they would have register hundreds of other new objects by then.

Accompany with words

When you sign to your baby, make sure that you use accompanying words that are spoken. This will allow them to make associations easily in due time. Never try to sign only as it will give them the impression that the sign means one thing and the spoken word means another. Whenever you sign, use more practical words which are general and used all the time.

Get an understanding

Signing to your baby involves everyone in their upbringing. This means that you should let anyone who are involved like your partner, your parents, in-laws, brothers and sisters all know about the signs you are using with your baby and from there you can strike an accord in ensuring that your baby can learn faster and easier. Be sure to include baby sitters or the nanny as well since they would be in contact with your baby most of the time.

Compliment and encourage

When your baby shows any response to your signs, be sure to compliment and encourage them for it. This will ensure that they are well aware of the fact that such communications are good signs. By praising them for their efforts even if they might get it wrong in the first instance, you will encourage them tremendously to try harder or to repeat the signs whenever they want to tell you something.

The most important thing about signing with your baby is communication. This is where you know you will have to be able to ‘talk’ to your baby and vice versa. Never ever show a dismal expression if your baby do not get it the first time around because they pick up these negative vibes somehow. Patience is important, but enjoying the whole learning process is much more important.


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