Recently I found a brochure in my Maternal, Child Health centre which was advertising classes to teach you and your baby how to use sign language to communicate before it can speak (as young as 6 months). I was quite intrigued. I did wonder if teaching babies to sign might have adverse effects on normal speech development, but the things I can find on the web all say that there shouldn’t be any problem with this at all (though perhaps they all have a baby sign language video to sell so who knows…)
So if you feel a strong desire to find out what your baby is thinking or needing then perhaps the two of you learning a few signs won’t go astray.
Here’s a photo dictionary of signs you could try (candy?? you’re asking for trouble if you teach them this one in my opinion!) or you could make up your own. The recommended dose is to start with between three to twelve signs and see how you go from there. When you are doing each activity make sure you show your baby the sign and eventually your baby will understand and make the sign themselves. Consistency is the key – use the same sign each time you do the same activity. It might take weeks or even months but eventually they should cotton on.
Signing with your baby has some great tips, how-tos and the afore mentioned excellent photo dictionary – ultimately trying to sell products and classes (FYI) but a really imformative site.
Comments on Blogging Baby from parents and carers who have tried it. Definitely worth reading through.