teaching your toddler sign language- brogan burnside

Thank you Brogan for sharing this post with us and thank you to Holly for these photos! Featuring our collared jumper- wheat // one piece swimmer- mustard // button tank- cloud // heritage knit short- toffee

I’m not an ASL expert, and you don’t have to be either! Baby sign language is a great tool for both babies and parents. After spending time nannying in my early adult years, I noticed a trend amongst toddlers... frustration in communicating. I witnessed a lot of tantrums over simply trying to communicate what they wanted but getting frustrated in the process. I stumbled across baby sign language when I was pregnant and I knew it was something I wanted to implement in our soon to be family! Now at 18 months my son can sign over 20 signs. This helps us immensely with understanding his needs.

When to start teaching baby signs

As early as 6 months most babies are able to start learning basic signs such as ‘all done’, ‘milk’ & ‘sleep’. These signs are typically used to aid the communication gap and reduce frustration! We introduced ‘all done’ at 6 months to Elio and it took him several months to actually do the motion back. Don’t give up, it can take time and lots of repeating for little ones to catch on. We only introduce 1 sign at a time and now Elio learns new signs almost instantly!

What are the benefits of baby signs:

Studies show that early communication can provide physiological benefits, such as enhanced confidence and self esteem! Both babies and parents feel confident that they are able to communicate needs. Learning sign language aids in speech development and language skills, Studies have also shown that signing can lead to greater vocabulary growth. Since signing is a visual language it will actually help your little one with visual and attention skills, which are both extremely important in both learning and social interactions.

What signs to teach*please note my son does not do these signs perfectly but it’s all a learning process!

All done - turn palms at the wrist with hands out

More - close fingers and thumbs together on both bands and tap together several times

Please - an open hand placed in your chest moving in a circular motion

Thank you - touch fingers to chin and bring hand forward to the person you are thanking

Bath - both hands in fists scrubbing up and down on your chest

Play - hands should be in a ‘y’ position and shaken back and forth at this wrist like a tambourine - (you can see here Elio is still working on this one. He has the shaking down but not the Y positioning yet.)

Book - both hands together in a clapping position and open your palms like a book

Food - take the tips of your fingers and tap your mouth

I hope this inspires you to teach your little one baby sign language and help ease the communication gap!

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