Are you using signs for the things that actually interest your baby? Not including motivating signs is one of the biggest pitfalls in teaching babies to sign. Baby must be involved in choosing motivating signs as these are things that are important to them specifically. If you really pay attention, you will be amazed by what makes baby’s tick – and they’re all different.
Just because you think that baby should be fascinated, doesn’t mean that they will be. If you’ve ever watched a toddler open a gift, you’ll notice that the wrapping is often a bigger hit than what it was meant to cover. As adults, we often ignore the “magic” and wonder that is all around us. We take for granted things like spinning ceiling fans and lights, but these really are amazing things. Baby wants to know what these things are called so he can talk about them with other people and point them out.
Above: Baby signing LIGHT in different contexts!
So if you find that your baby isn’t picking signs up, maybe your baby isn’t all that fussy about MILK even though it’s their primary food. Maybe your baby just isn’t all that interested in STARS – or isn’t able to see them and has no idea what you’re even pointing at. Motivating signs can be nearly anything, so don’t get stuck on what you think is interesting, let your baby tell you through their nonverbal cues.
Motivating signs will usually be picked up a lot faster than routine signs, so be sure to include these in your early sign lessons.