How Do You Teach a Baby or Toddler Sign Language?

Sign Language: If learning sign language seems daunting, realize that you only need to learn a few basic signs at first.

Obviously, you start by learning sign language yourself.

How do you do that?

Don’t rely only on a book. I am a prolific reader and think you can learn almost anything you ever want to know from a book. Books are a tool to learn sign language, too, but the book is best as a supplementary learning tool to a video.

Either take a class or buy a video. To me, the video is better. It can be repeated, in the middle of the night if necessary.

And it can be shared.

Sign language is taught more quickly when everyone uses it–parents,grandparents, siblings, caregivers, family friends. Sharing the video,therefore, is the best way for all of you to learn sign language.

If learning sign language seems daunting, realize that learning to communicate is a gradual process. You only need to learn a few basic words at first.

You will need to make a commitment to the sign language process though. It will take some time, a commitment to learning, and consistently using the signs yourself in order to teach your baby sign language.

Start with the some of the basics like eat, wet, sleep, more. Expand those basics as your baby grows. Then add fun words such as dog, cat and ball. Let your baby lead the way then with his or her interests.

You don’t have to put special time aside to teach your baby sign language. All you really need to do is say the word and make the sign at the same time in your daily routine.

The key is consistency and persistence on your part: Every time you put your baby to bed, for example, say the word “sleep” and make the sign for sleep.

You can also add words by singing and signing with your baby. Music not only facilitates learning and memory, it also makes it easier for us to be “silly” and use our sign language.

If you are even somewhat creative, make up your own songs that use the sign language words you want your baby to know. Sing, smile, and sign.

Beside patience in waiting for your baby to start signing, one other caution is in order. Don’t stress your baby by teaching too many words too quickly, especially at first.

Despite his propensity for the American Sign Language (ASL), Dr Joseph Garcia does not encourage teaching any baby the entire body of ASL. He believes communication should detract from parental-baby frustrations and stresses, not add to them.

Teaching Your Baby or Toddler Sign Language.

Don’t spend a fortune on books and videos for sign language products before you have experience. The truth is that sign language is not hard to learn for you or for your baby. I would only purchase two, possibly three, sign language items.

My recommendations for teaching your baby sign language:

1. Dr Joseph Garcia authored the classic in the sign language field: Sign With Your Baby.

Buy the video only or buy a kit which contains the video, a short and simple to understand book, plus a chart showing the signs.

The sign language video is a must for the section on teaching sign language and the last section which demonstrates American Sign Language words. I would buy the kit to get the accompanying sign language book unless you buy the CD Pick Me Up at the same time. That CD includes a workbook.One sign language book is probably enough although both of these sign language books have their positive and different attributes.

2. At the same time I would add the music CD Pick Me Up for the signing and singing as well as the excellent sign language workbook for parents. This fun, interactive experience for you and your baby is all it normally takes to rapidly add words to your American Sign Language vocabulary.

3. If at any time you or your babies are having problems learning sign language, purchase Baby See N Sign, Volume I. It presents American Sign Language words three different times: as a still picture, in slow motion, and at normal video speed.

Frankly, I believe the above three items are all the sign language products you need to own.

If you have an expanded budget, here are some other sign language products I would consider buying.

See sign language products I would not buy and the reasons I would not buy them here.

Why purchase any sign language items? Why not use the library for your sign language needs?

You probably need at least one sign language product on hand for reference. A CD of music to sign by teaches sign language daily.

Plus your baby can watch a sign language video like Baby See N Sign to supplement your own signing.

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