One of the ways to teach a sign faster is by continuously reintroducing the object (or person) throughout the day, or even within the moment. This works especially well for people. For example, when teaching the sign for MOM or DAD, have either leave the room for some time. You can then go over the sign a few times with your baby. Next ask WHERE has MOM or DAD gone. Hopefully you’ve played the hide and seek game before and your baby will know to look around the room. Even if your baby hasn’t used the sign for MOM or DAD before chances are good that they will still understand the word in a receptive capacity so will know to look and search around. Start up with “Where is MOM or DAD?”, “Can you find MOM or DAD?”, or “Go find MOM or DAD” using the sign each time you say the sentence. After a few seconds, have MOM or DAD come back in. Act surprised, say “Oh there is MOM or DAD!” while doing the sign. You should then repeat this game a few times, having Mom or Dad leave and re-enter the room. If you do this a few times each day, pretty soon your baby will be signing WHERE and MOM and DAD.
Above: Signing MOM and DAD.
This game can be played with objects too. You can easily hide an object under blankets, in pockets, behind your back or any other place you can think of. Games like this give you plenty of opportunity to expose your baby to the various signs you are teaching. You can also teach signs by simply showing objects throughout the day and quizzing your baby for the sign. For example, you might grab an APPLE whenever you are in the kitchen and ask your baby to do the sign for it – and if they don’t, then just model it for them. This can be done for any number of objects which you have handy in whatever room you happen to be in.
Another re-introduction method is by adding lots of toys, playing with them, then taking them all away. Introduce one toy and ask if they would like to have MORE toys. Wait to see if your baby will do the sign, and if not, do the sign for their benefit or help them by moving their hands for them. Naturally, you’re going to add more toys afterwards so they understand the sign’s application.
The peek-a-boo game is also fun for babies and this can be played with people or with toys. You can hide you’re your baby’s favourite DOLL under a blanket. Before uncovering it, ask your baby WHERE their DOLL is, and then surprise your baby by uncovering it and saying “Peekaboo!” The more ways your baby hears a word, and sees the sign, the greater the chances that your baby will remember it and use it on his own.