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Baby Sign Language: First Baby Signs

Signing for babies is very rewarding and fun, but every parent wants to know which signs are the best to start with
          The most common sign that parents, who are not taking classes, choose to start signing is MORE. Be aware-vague signs like MORE might be confusing and ineffective for babies, as they are seen in a variety of contexts, and can produce different results in each different context. For example, signing MORE might get them more milk, more cookies, more toys, etc. But signing is more salient when it produces specific results, and thus gets positive reinforcement. Signing MORE can easily be just a nonspecific cry, since it can mean so many different things. With signing, we would like to enhance speech and enlarge vocabulary, and I suspect that signing MORE as the first sign can do just the opposite.

          So what are the hallmarks of a great first baby sign?

           From years of experience with signing, I suggest that there are 3 groups of signs, I call them the F SIGNS. The best first baby signs fit into one of these three categories:
                    Baby signs that are functional
                    Baby signs that share feelings
                    Baby signs that are fun

          Functional baby signs involve asking for something or expressing a need. MILK for example, is the most common first sign a baby will learn, as it is often what a baby is asking for the most. Other signs that would fall under this category might be DIAPER or FOOD. 
         
          Baby signs that share feelings might express happiness or sadness. I feel that the most important one of all for a baby to learn and see often is the sign for “I love you”. There are never enough ways to share this feeling, so the more the better! 

          Fun baby signs will be specific to the babies’ environment. For example, if you have a dog in the house that the baby likes, it might be the sign for dog. Or, if your baby has a favorite ball, that might be your fun sign. These signs are often involved in playtime or silly moments. 
         
          Baby sign language should, above all, be fun and fit with your lifestyle. The more you put into signing, the more you’ll get out of it. Keep signing and have a great day!

 

 

 


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