For many parents, trying to figure out what your baby needs is an all-consuming and never-ending task. When your baby cries, does she need a diaper change, a meal, or just a cuddle? The communication barrier can frustrate both parent and child. To this end, this list of signs your baby should know can help you both communicate more easily in no time. Soon, perhaps, your baby can just flash the sign for milk instead crying her head off at random.
Why would hearing babies benefit from learning a sign language, anyway? Championed by American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter Dr. Joseph Garcia, baby sign language is a method of communication that makes use of babies' ability to sign as young as 6 months of age. In contrast, it might take a baby until the age of about 24 months to directly ask for more milk or express other needs, as explained by the Mayo Clinic. Signing gives your baby a way to communicate before those tricky language skills are mastered. It's a great way to bond with your kid and prevent frustration on both sides.
The first signs your baby adopts will communicate the most basic and direct needs babies have, as noted by Baby Sign Language. Signaling a need for milk or food, for example, are some of the first signs babies learn. Because baby signing is a practical skill, it makes sense for the first signs to include the baby's most common everyday needs.
Plus, it's just fun. Signing is an active, expressive way to communicate with your baby, and it may even strengthen your bond. Study the most commonly used baby signs and make use of the ones that might benefit your family the most.
So in my opinion, this is the most important sign of all. For this sign, you basically mimic the gesture of putting food in your mouth. It's a straightforward and intuitive way to communicate hunger.
Similarly, the sign for drink is also intuitive. You mimic the motion of sipping from a cup. Your baby can finally let you know when he's thirsty.
To sign for more, create an "o" shape in each hand, and flatten each without breaking your fingertips apart, as noted by Lifeprint. Tap your fingertips together. Now your baby can let you know when she wants more milk (or ice cream).
OK, so this sign looks like you're milking an imaginary cow, so it's a little less direct for some. But at least it stands out from the other signs.
Hey, it's never too soon to start initiating politeness. Face your palm toward you chest and make a circling motion to make the sign for please. It's perfect to use in combination with most any other sign.
The sign for stop mimics a cutting motion. It's a simple way for your kid to let you know when they want something to stop.
Wouldn't it be great if your baby could just tell you when it's time for a diaper change? To make the sign language sign for change, curve both of your index fingers into a hook shape, cross your hands, then reverse your hands, as noted by Baby Sign Language
Need to signal when your kid is done eating? To say all done, lift your hands up, palms facing inward. Flip both wrists around quickly, as if you're pushing something away. It's another clever, intuitive sign.
To sign for hungry, make a C shape with your hand and trace down your throat to your stomach. It mimics the path food takes to a hungry belly. This is one sign your baby will probably use often once they know what it means.
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