May 7, 2024

What Are The 10 Most Important Infant Sign Languages

What Are The 10 Most Important Infant Sign Languages

Parenting is all about knowing what our little ones need, understanding their emotions, and witnessing their developmental stages. Every parent wants their child to be happy, but sometimes it becomes difficult for them to understand what their child is trying to communicate. Using infant sign language can help parents enhance communication with their little ones.

Let's understand the benefits of newborn sign language and how it will make your journey as a parent easier.

Understanding Infant Sign Language

It is crucial to understand what exactly is meant by infant sign language. Basic infant sign language is a set of movements, hand signs, and gestures that help babies communicate. Infant sign language is different from American Sign Language (ASL), which is comparatively complex and technical and is used by people who are deaf.

5 Reasons Why Parents Should Use Baby Sign Language

  1. Improves the communication ability of the child before they start speaking.
  2. It allows parents to understand what their baby wants, causing less stress.
  3. Allows the baby to get started with language acquisition.
  4. Improves the bond between the parents and the baby.
  5. Strengthens and improves the cognitive skills of the baby.

Baby Sign Language - Myths and Facts

Myth: Sign language would delay the baby's speech.

Fact: This is not true because parents often associate symbols with specific words, establishing a connection in the baby's mind between words and signs. Utilizing sign language assists infants in acquiring more words and enhances their communication skills, thus improving their ability to use words effectively.

Myth: Educators do not support newborn sign language.

Fact: Groups dedicated to children's development actively endorse the use of sign language as they recognize its significance in early childhood growth.

Myth: Teaching sign language takes too much effort and is time-consuming.

Fact: Learning sign language is effortless, as it naturally integrates into daily interactions with your child. There's no need for a dedicated learning time or method. Teaching your baby signs during routine activities like meal times, bedtimes, or bath times can be seamlessly incorporated into your daily schedule without causing stress for you or your child.

Myth: Teaching sign language is equivalent to torturing babies.

Fact: While parents may worry that introducing baby sign language could overwhelm their child, the reality is quite the opposite. Teaching infants sign language facilitates smoother communication between parent and child, enhancing understanding and strengthening their bond.

10 Baby Signs to Start Using With Baby

Photo by: Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Here is a comprehensive list of infant sign language for your reference:

Sign 1: Milk

Babies constantly crave milk throughout the day, as it is their primary food. To sign for milk, you need to make a fist with your hand. Then, open up the fingers, relax them again, and repeat it several times. It is like holding something tight, which your baby may find hard to do at first. But with lots of practice, it will get easier for them.

You could use the sign while feeding to help connect actions with words better. Say "milk" and do the movement many times as you feed the baby.

Sign 2: More

Sometimes, the baby might want more food. If it's their favorite food, then they will try to ask for it either by crying or throwing tantrums. If you teach your baby sign language, it will be easy for them to tell you what they need.

Use both your hands and squeeze the fingers and thumbs together to form two O shapes. Then, tap your fingertips against each other. You can do this a couple of times and separate the hands.

As the baby grows, they will learn to use the sign well. But make sure you always use it when the baby wants more food or playtime.

Sign 3: Eat

The 'eat' sign is very important when the baby reaches six months old and starts eating solid food along with milk. To teach them the sign, you need to use your fingers and thumb together in an O shape. Then bring it near your mouth. You might even open your mouth a little, just like you would when eating food.

Make sure to give your baby food when they want it before each meal, so you might need to ask them for a sign. With practice, you will find that the infant will come to you and talk in motion whenever they need food.

Sign 4: Water

Help your baby use signs to ask for water when they are thirsty or want a sippy cup. Put your three fingers together like the letter W, then press it against your chin with the pointed finger.

Speak the word "water" while acting with your hands so that the baby connects better to the action or sign.

Sign 5: Sleep

Another important indicator for the baby is their sleep cues. It's crucial for them to recognize when they're tired and in need of rest during the day. You can begin by teaching them to settle down at bedtime and then prior to nap time.

To signal sleep, place your fingers on your head and gently slide them down to your chin, then form a fist under your chin. Additionally, close your eyes and adopt a serene expression, signaling to the baby that they'll feel calm and peaceful while sleeping.

Sign 6: Play

Babies naturally enjoy playtime and crave interaction, making teaching them sign language for play a great idea. To convey the concept of play, use your thumb and baby fingers on both hands while bending the remaining fingers toward your palm.

Then, twist both hands and smile to reinforce the connection between sign language and words.

Sign 7: Diaper

When a baby's diaper is full, the infant may feel wet and uncomfortable, indicating a need for a change. Teaching them the sign for a diaper change can help you recognize their discomfort.

To teach them the sign language for diaper changing, position both hands near your midsection. Straighten your first two fingers while bending the last two inward. Then, verbalize the word "diaper" before each change and place your hands near your abdomen.

Sign 8: All Done

At times, your baby may indicate a desire to discontinue an activity, such as feeding or any other routine task. The "finished" sign provides babies with a means to communicate that they no longer wish to engage in the current activity.

To make the "finished" sign, raise both hands with palms facing toward you, then rotate them outward.

Sign 9: Help

You should teach your baby sign language for "help" since they depend on you for everything.

To do this sign, form a tight fist with one hand and extend the thumb upward. Then, place this hand on your other flat arm.

Sign 10: Thank You

To foster generosity in children, teach them how to express gratitude. Use sign language to teach them to say thank you. Demonstrate by placing your fingers and thumb in a straight line, touching them to the child, and gently moving them away.

Final Thoughts

Learning is a continuous journey, especially for your baby, who is just beginning it. Having a basic understanding of infant sign language is beneficial. Therefore, it's important to remain patient as they absorb new knowledge every day.

Consistent practice facilitates independent learning for the baby. Utilizing pictures and drawings can aid in their comprehension. Additionally, incorporating signs into your daily routine reinforces their learning. Your child will observe and learn more effectively if they see you consistently using signs.

Now that you're equipped with knowledge of various signs, it's time to integrate them into your interactions with your infant. This practice not only fosters a strong bond but also provides a sense of security for your child, knowing they are being understood.

Get more information on aiding your newborn in achieving their developmental milestones at Raising Superstars. We have a host of programs to assist parents in nurturing their children through the crucial years of development.

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