If you are a parent of a baby or toddler (or currently pregnant) you probably have heard of “baby sign.” But what exactly is it and why would you want to use sign language with your child? How? Where and when should you start? This is one of many posts I am writing this month on the topic of sign language and why I think it’s awesome for babies and children of all ages to learn it!
I have had an absolute BLAST writing these posts on sign language this month! This is the last post in the series however in case you missed my announcement on Friday, I am starting a new series called Signing Saturdays so I can continue to give tips, share ideas, and provide signing activities that you can do with YOUR little ones! I have posts planned on signing with specific books, signing during daily activities, fun signing games, and more! So stay tuned!
So I have gone over the who, what, where, how, why and when of signing. Today I am going to go over a little more about the when and what.
Signing Can Be Incorporated Into Everyday Activities
As I have said many times, language is not learned in a bubble. Children learn language all day, every day, within every activity they take part in. This is important to keep in mind as you think about how to incorporate teaching your little ones signs. Remember: sign language is just that, language. Therefore, the more you can sign the more your little one will learn. And the more relevant those signs are that you are teaching your little ones to them, the quicker they will pick them up and use them! So…how and when can you weave sign language into your day? Let me give you some examples!
- Wake up: When your little one wakes you can greet her with a hello, Good Morning and snuggles…maybe some milk and an “I love you.” 🙂
- Diaper changes: This is a great time to introduce the sign for diaper!
- Getting Dressed: Yup…we gotta get dressed so this is a great time to introduce some simple signs like shoes and socks or hat.
- Breakfast: All meal times are excellent times to introduce signing vocabulary. The signs more, all done and please are great ones to use during meal times but don’t forget to teach her the names of some of her favorite foods! Maybe banana, apple, bread, or waffle would be good ones to start with!
- Play Time: Now that you are up, dressed and fed, it is probably time for some play! What are your little one’s favorite toys? What does he love to play with? Some common ones are car, ball, bear, and baby.
- Mommy and Me Classes: If you take part in any mommy and me classes (Gymboree, My Gym, Tiny Tots, Baby Swim) these are great times to introduce verb and preposition signs such as in, out, over, under, fast, slow, run, walk, jump and share. You see my little guy Ev above rocking his Cloth Rocks shirt (from my friend Kim’s Blog Dirty Diaper Laundry) at Gymboree class a couple weeks ago. He is always signing ball while we are there 🙂
- Going for a Walk: I LOVE going for walks with my kids…it gives me a chance to get some exercise while keeping the kids entertained. There are SO many things you may see on your walk to talk and sign about! Some may include walk, run, tree, dog, and bird. (Check in soon…I have a whole post planned for Signing Saturdays all about signing on walks!)
- Grocery Shopping: This is a weekly chore that we don’t always LOVE, right? But often times out little ones sure do! So many things to see, hear, and SIGN about! The possibilities are endless but some examples include cart, shopping, apples, bananas, strawberries, (and other fruit), in, out, colors, etc. (This is another topic I plan to cover in a post on Signing Saturdays!)
- Lunch Time: Another meal time…what does your little one like to eat? Sandwich, strawberries, crackers?
- Reading: This is one of the BEST TIMES to work on your signing! My little guy can “read” the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear to me. It is adorable. Pick your child’s favorite book and look up some of the key vocabulary and starting signing! Looking for ideas? I have several planned for future posts.
- Nap Time: Ahhhhh time for mommy to get a break! You can introduce signs such as sleep, bed, blanket, or bear.
- Music/fingerplays: Another fantastic time to introduce signs is during simple songs and fingerplays. The Itsy Bitsy Spider is great for the signs spider, up, down, rain, and sun. The ABC song is a great way to introduce the letters of the alphabet in sign. The Wheels on the Bus is great for the signs for bus, wheels, up, down, open, shut, etc.
- Cooking: If you have a little one who is old enough and likes to help, you can introduce signing vocabulary during cooking activities!
- Movie/TV Time: I know that around here, I try to use our TV time for when I have things to do, like get dinner ready. Why not put in a Signing Time video while you prepare dinner? (I encourage you to watch the videos with your children at other times and interact and sign with your children as you watch…but once in a while you need something educational to thrown in so you can chop up some vegetables, right!?)
- Dinner Time: Yum yum, what is for dinner tonight? Carrots, pears, pizza, french fries, pasta? Pick your child’s favorite dinner foods and sign away….whole also working on more, all done, please and thank you!
- Bath Time: Water, soap, wash, in, out, are all great signs to introduce during bath time!
- Bed Time: It has been a BUSY day! Time for night-night. The same vocabulary I mentioned above during nap time is appropriate…you can also introduce the signs for night and stars too.
So there you have it….a whole day FULL of signing! If you read this post and felt overwhelmed…DON’T! Just take it one day at a time and only do as much as you can. If you feel stressed, slow down. You want this to be FUN!
As I mentioned above, I have a TON of posts planned that will go into more detail about signing during daily activities like the ones above coming up in my Signing Saturdays series. If you have any suggestions of something you want to learn about shoot me an email or leave a comment! I LOVE hearing your ideas!