Not every moment is created equal as far as teaching baby to sign. If you’ve started a signing program, than you know exactly what I’m talking about. I know with my son, there were times when he was totally engrossed in an activity or task and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t pull him away to teach him to sign anything.
Other times, he was calm, focused, alert. This is what’s called “shared attention.” It’s when my son and I were both focused on the same thing. It could have been anything, such as a bird, butterfly, activity, image or even a person. These moments can be extremely rare in some babies, while others always seem focused. Every baby is different. My son was a pretty good mix of both so he’d play on his own and other times he’d want to play together. Sometimes he’d like to play with his blocks and other times read books. To teach signs, you have to cater to your baby’s natural tendencies. When baby doesn’t want to read books, don’t bother trying to teach signs by looking at images, but when baby is interested, use the moment. This will make teaching that much more enjoyable. It means your baby will pick up signs that much faster.
So instead of forcing signs, just let it happen when it’s appropriate. You’d be surprised by how fast your baby will pick signs up when he’s ready.