Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Babies and Signing

We have been trying to teach Griffin sign language since he started eating solid foods (around 6 months). It was a slow road, but I am so thankful we did it now. He is at the age where he really wants and needs to communicate, and having lots of signs helps us a ton. It took quite awhile for griffin to sign more than just "more" and "all done". I think it has helped him understand the concept of talking though, because recently he is saying several words pretty well. He is also able to put two signs together, like "more please". So, here are some tips from what we learned along the way:

- Baby Signing Time DVDs and SigningSmart books. Two fabulous resources you need to look up! They will help you learn the signs as well.

- SigningSmart teaches that you need to start early (like even 3 months) and make sure to mix "parent motivating signs" with "child motivated signs". This will help baby get the signing principles bc they would prob rather talk about a dog than if they are done eating. This was very true for Griffin (unfortunately we didn't start that until around 9-10 months). Once he learned animal signs, which he thought were fun, he started picking up signs so easily. Highly recommend it. They have 2 board books with signs in them that Griffin loves loves loves. Amazon is a great place to pick these up.

- BE CONSISTENT!! That is the key and harder than you think. If you aren't used to signing then doing a sign every time you say the word is tough to remember. This is probably a big reason it took Griffin so long to really start signing well. I just wasn't super consistent.

- Don't aim for perfection. Many signs are super similar and take detailed fine motor skills to show the distinct differences. Look for context to see what they mean. For instance, "eat", "water" and "drink" all put you hand up to your mouth. Griffin does them all very similar. That's ok. He also does "cracker" on top of his arm instead of underneath. But it's clear he is meaning cracker. Let baby do the sign to the level of their motor skill capacity.

- Say the word when you sign. The more they hear it the more they realize what you are saying.

- Make them sign to get what they want. "You want crackers? Not until you say crackers!" You'll be amazed how quick a kid who wants some goldfish can learn cracker! Haha

- YouTube. If you don't know what a certain sign looks like, look it up on YouTube. Awesome. Figuring out signs with a picture is difficult. Love that we have this option now. 

I really cant recommend signing with your kid enough. It really is helping us with communication and tantrums. Griffin will begin to fuss and we will say "you have to tell us what you want" and then he stops and signs. Yay for one less fit to deal with (because there are already plenty! haha!)!

Signs Griffin knows:
Eat, Drink, Cracker, Water, Milk, All Done/Finished, More, Bird, Fish, Frog, Dog, Cat, Car, Help, Shoes, Hat, Please, Thank You, Airplane (kinda... he does remotely hold his fingers right, but he moves his hand correctly when you say airplane so he gets the concept), Ball, Light, Mom (only done this one a few times)

Happy Signing!

- Mrs.Pate via my iPhone

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