You may know already that Princess and I have very much enjoyed our Baby Signing journey. After my first post, Baby Signing, it’s a must!, I thought perhaps some Mummy tips might be helpful for anyone who’s thinking of getting started.
1. No Experience Required! You do not need any experience in Makaton, British Sign Language (BSL) or Baby signing to get started. Enjoy learning this new skill with your baby. With a little commitment and practise anyone can sign with their baby.
2. Getting Started. Personally I think the sooner the better. I started signing with Princess when she was about 6 months old. We are planning on signing with the new baby as soon as she arrives. I really hope that Princess enjoys sharing her signing skills with her little sister.
3. Join A Class. This isn’t essential but it can really help you and your baby get into the swing of baby sign language. It might be worth contacting your local Children’s Centre as they may offer free courses. There are also classes like Sing and Sign that can really help. I was lucky enough to be able to do both of these classes. I found having a Sing and Sign teacher to ask questions and learn new signs from really helpful.
4. Start Slowly. However you decide to learn, start slowly and master a few key signs to begin with. Mealtimes is a good place to start with signs like Eat, Drink, Milk and More. You might find you say something, then realise you can sign it too. I repeated my sentences for a while so I could add the signs, but it did become second nature, so don’t get too frustrated.
5. Be Patient. Some babies start signing as early as 7/8 months. Princess didn’t start using signing until she was about 16 months old, but when she did she used about 15 signs all at once. It can be disheartening if you see other babies ‘getting it’ before your baby, but stick with it, it’s not a competition! All babies develop differently.
6. Books, Toys and Nursery Rhymes. Use these with your baby to practise your signing. Princess has always enjoyed signing about animals the most. Take notice of what your baby is most interested in and teach them signs that will engage them. I signed her stories to her as well as songs. Puzzles are a good signing tool too.
7. Get Everyone Involved. The more people that sign with your baby the easier it will be for her to learn. Daddy, Big Brother and even the Grandparents joined in as they could all see it helped communicate with Princess. Take them to some classes to help them get started or introduce them to Mr Tumble!
8. Sign all the Time. Don’t just sign at home or in class, use it all the time. It feels a little strange at first, but I’ve never seen anyone bat an eyelid. If other parents see signing, they are more likely to start doing it too, especially if they’re feeling a bit shy or awkward about it. Lets make baby signing a natural part of a baby’s early development. Read books, take them swimming, Baby Sign!
Last but no means least, enjoy it! It’s good fun and great for baby too!
I’d really love to hear from you about your experiences of Baby Signing, especially if your just getting started.
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