The basics and much, much more to baby sign language are taught in our online course, but every now and again, I can take the time to emphasis one of the skills in this blog. That’s what I intend to do in this one.
When you sign to your baby, you only want to sign the key word rather than every single word you speak. The key word carries the meaning in the sentence. For example you might say “Look at the red BALL.” Baby isn’t concerned about the colour, or the shape, baby knows to look for the object. However, as you say the word “ball” you want to place particular emphasis on the word and also pause before and after you say the word. As you say the key word, you can even raise the volume of your voice. Also be sure to sign the word at the exact same time that you say it out loud. Saying the word verbally is how your baby is going to start speaking sooner because they will hear the word as well as the sentence structure. When signing to your baby, you always want to talk in full sentences, even though you’ll only sign one or two of the words.
Whenever you speak with your baby, be sure to be direct, as you would any other person. Make and hold eye contact and ensure you get it back. Call out your baby’s name and have them focus on your face and hands so they pick up the sign. At first, your baby might not pay attention, but over time, your baby will use more eye contact and understand where to look.