Baby sign language can be taught almost from birth. That does not mean a newborn will be able to understand sign language from birth; it only means to start as early as possible. Babies learn from what they see, facially, through gestures, and tone of voice. Begin early using words and facial gestures to match the sign you are trying to teach your infant.
Baby sign language is different from American Sign Language. Parents should remember that baby’s language develops in single syllables and short words. The same is true for baby sign language. When teaching an infant sign language the goal is to teach the infant words that will benefit both the parents and child’s understanding of one another.
Important words that will keep your child from crying endlessly because he or she is not able to tell you what is wrong with him or her. An example of first words should consist of eat, more, hungry, yes, please and help. You might find others you believe better for your family circumstances.
Early first signs that are easy for your infant to learn should be shown to your child with the word repeated while making the sign. First signs should be a very simple single hand motion. A common need of newborns is hunger, the sign for hungry is simple, and each time you feed your child you should show the sign a few times, and repeat the word as you display the sign. Only give your child one sign at a time. Once your child learns the meaning of the sign you are showing him or her, then you can begin to teach another.
Your child will not begin to mimic the sign for up to six month, some learn sooner, some later. It is important to use the signs at all times, and every person who has interaction with your child needs to use the signs as well, this will keep your infant from becoming confused and it will provide consistency in teaching sign language and in his or her learning abilities.
Remember children are susceptible to learning early in life, teaching sign language is the same as teaching your child a foreign language. An infant will learn sign language as easily as they learn to speak, if not easier. Infants as a rule will not begin to use words in speech until the eighth or ninth month of life. Infant who learn sign language will begin to use sing language near the sixth month.
Once your infant understands the correlation between the words you speak and the sign you are teaching him or her, every sign become easier for you to teach your child, and easier for your child to learn.