By Megan Hughes, M.A., CCC-SLP Speech-Language Pathologist
A baby’s understanding of language and motor skills develop much faster than their ability to speak. Sign language can help you understand what your baby is thinking before he/she can even talk! Teaching signs to a baby can lead to better communication (and hopefully fewer tears/tantrums)! Babies love to imitate and are natural mimics. On average, babies who are shown signs consistently from 6 months begin signing around 8.5 months of age. How does it work? A mother asks her baby “would you like some more?”, making the sign for “more” as she says it. The baby hears the word and sees the sign. They begin to make the connection between the gesture and the word. Start with a few single signs and use them frequently and consistently. The list below includes some of the best signs to start with because there are plenty of opportunities to use them and they all look different–so you should be able to recognize them when your baby starts signing them to you! Here are a few signs and fun applications you can use to communicate with your baby: Yes: Simulate a nodding motion with your fist. No: Extend your pointer finger, middle finger, and thumb at chest height and then bring them together. More: Bring the fingertips of both hands together twice. All Done: Sway both your palms upwards and downwards. Eat: Start with your fingertips touching your thumb, and bring your hand towards your mouth, twice. Bed: Rest your head on your hand like it is a pillow. Encourage or praise all attempts to sign. Once your baby starts using some signs, then you can start introducing more! See Baby Sign and Learn App for more signs, videos, and flashcards!
Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
740 Community Drive, Unit A
North Liberty, IA 52317
5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300
Johnston, IA 50131