Most of us hate seeing our children unhappy–but when baby is too young to talk, it can be tough to know exactly what your little one wants. In the last few years, an increasing number of parents are turning to baby sign language to assist boost communication with their preverbal children.
Baby sign language is a set of simple hand gestures (aka signs) that correspond to ordinary words that you use with baby every day. Sometimes the baby signs are the same as those used in American Sign Language, but maybe not always.
Wondering how to teach baby sign language? A good time to start is if baby is between 4 and 6 weeks old, according to Jann Fujimoto, CCC-SLP, a certified speech-language pathologist at Wisconsin. There are different methods to teaching baby sign language (there are lots of classes and books on the subject ), but generally you are able to teach baby by saying a phrase, such as”milk,” while making the signal at the exact same time, and then giving baby the milk. Repetition–and patience–is key. Keep in mindyour little one likely won’t start making signs on her own till she’s about 6 to 9 weeks.
When you’re ready to begin teaching baby sign language, you will need to decide which baby signs to start with. Consider which words you and your family use the maximum on an everyday basis. Want some help? Here, we have illustrated how to teach 25 common baby hints.
COMMON BABY SIGNS
We’re betting these basic baby signs will be among the first signs you teach your little one. Here’s how to make them.
Baby sign for ‘hungry’
Make the sign for “hungry” by cupping your hand around your neck to make a C shape, then move your hand down from your neck to your stomach.
Baby sign for ‘drink’
To sign “drink,” make a C shape with your hand, as if you were holding a cup, then move it to your mouth as if you were drinking from it.
Baby sign for ‘milk’
To sign “milk,” make two fists, then extend your fingers and bring them back into fists.
Baby sign for ‘water’
The sign for “water” is made by extending your three middle fingers so they’re pointing up, with your thumb and pinkie tucked down, and then tapping your index finger to your chin.
Baby sign for ‘more’
Make the sign for “more” by pinching your thumbs and fingers together on both hands, creating two O shapes, then tapping your fingertips together a few times.
BABY SIGN FOR ‘DONE’
You can sign “all done” by using the ASL sign for “finished.” Start with your hands up, palms facing toward you, and turn them until your palms face out.
Baby sign for ‘play’
To sign “play,” clench your fingers to your palms, leaving your thumbs and pinkies extended; then with palms facing you, twist your wrists back and forth.
Baby sign for ‘sleep’
The “sleep” sign is done by holding your hand over your forehead with your fingers spread apart, then drawing your hand down over your face until your fingers and thumb come together to touch your chin.
Baby sign for ‘mom’
To make the sign for “mom,” spread your fingers apart, then with your pinkie facing forward, tap your thumb to your chin.
Baby sign for ‘dad’
Make the sign for “dad” by spreading your fingers apart, then with your pinkie facing forward, tap your thumb to your forehead.
Baby sign for ‘poop’
You can sign “poop” by clenching both hands into fists and stacking them on top of each other, with the thumb of the bottom hand tucked inside the upper fist. Then, pull your bottom hand down from the upper hand, leaving your thumb extended.
Baby sign for ‘yes’
The “yes” sign looks like a nodding head. Make a fist and then, folding at your wrist, bob your fist up and down.