How to Teach your Baby Sign Language

Learning how to teach baby sign language is easy. It really is not as difficult as it may seem. If you are able to teach your baby to wave hello or goodbye then you have all the necessary skills required to teach your baby some simple sign language as well.
Keyword signing
Baby Sign Language is based on the keyword signing and is not the same as adult sign language. Many systems provide baby sign language based on ASL, BSL or AUSLAN but these are all based on adult sign language.
Baby Sign Language should be specifically tailored to suit the age level it is aimed at which is 3-30 months. By 30 months of age, most children are able to communicate and be understood by their families and the signs are no longer required.
These Baby Signs should be used as a temporary bridging gap between pre-verbal and verbal years.
Signing does not replace speech
If you have decided to start teaching baby sign language there is one very important thing you need to remember. Signing does not replace speech. This is the largest difference that separates baby sign language from sign language for adults.
You are trying to encourage communication so flood your baby with words. When you speak certain keywords, include the sign, do not emit the spoken word.
The pattern
Apart from that, there really is not much to it. If you follow, the same pattern you would use to teach your child to wave hello or goodbye then you will pick it up in no time at all. Here are some simple tips to get you started.
Make sure that you use the sign in relevant situations
If you are signing for milk, make sure it is just before their feed time and reward them with the milk to enhance the comprehension.
Ensure your baby is in the mood
If they are tired or hungry, they are not going to be interested. If this is the case, just sign to them for consistency and provide them with their needs. Do not make it a negative experience or they are likely to want to forget about doing it.
The progress from baby sign language to speech
The progress from baby sign language to speech should occur naturally. If you have been using baby sign language with your child from an early age, it is likely that they will start to develop speech much earlier than their peers do.
By providing them with a communication tool such as baby sign language, they will realize the benefits of communication earlier and be looking for more complex ways to get their point across.
The transition from baby sign language to speech
The transition from baby sign language to speech will depend on how you have been using the sign language. Providing that you have not replaced the need for speech with the use of signs everything should be fine.
Signing will usually increase the comprehension of words and so when coupled with the spoken language will be a great benefit in the child’s speech development.
Make sure you sign to them while they are watching and so that they can see your hands clearly. Do not make it too complicated. Although they are attracted to movement, you want to make it as easy for them to copy as possible. This is why baby sign language is specifically designed to be within the capabilities of the baby and should not involve finger spelled signs.