We started signing with Isla at about 6 months, and around month 10, we finally started seeing results. It was a minor investment of our time, staying consistent with it and now the payback is huge!
She started signing milk at around 10 months, followed by more and all done. I found that these 3 signs were all we needed at the beginning, but around 1 year she started picking up other signs very easily. She now also signs; sleep, water, eat, please, egg and thank you. And we are adding new words every week.
It is pretty crazy when they start picking them up, it is random at first and you think it is just a fluke, then they are inconsistent and then they use the sign correctly, you give them what they want and it suddenly just clicks. They realize that they can get what they want from you, and get pretty excited when it happens.
Here are 3 tips to get you started:
I started with milk because she was nursing often, and I wanted her to be able to let me know when she wanted to nurse. Every time I nursed her, I would do the sign a few times while saying the word. I started at 6 months, but I don’t think I needed to start that early, next time, I will probably start at around 8 months. The key to the success is being consistent. Every time she ate I would say and sign eat, every time she drank water I would say and do that sign, and every time I gave her some more food, I would say and sign more. Like I said before, it takes months before you see them sign, but just stick with it, they will get it!
The key to the success is being consistent.
Introduce one word at a time
Another tip is to introduce words one at a time. If you start signing everything you are doing they will get confused. Now that she is a little older (14 months) and is picking them up faster, we are introducing one new word every week or two and just adding to her existing vocabulary.
Choose words that are relevant to them
If you have a cat or dog, teach them those signs. If they love balls, teach them ball, and teach them their favourite foods. Make sure to teach them words that they are interested in and they will be more likely to use them.
All kids make up their own variation of the signs, but you will learn and understand their versions quickly. Here’s a video of Isla demonstrating some of her signs.
Also, for learning signs yourself, check out Baby Sign Pro on youtube, she has a short video for every word.