There are many ways to get your baby to do the things you want them to such as signing, but the ‘cheapest’ and easiest way is to get excited! Babies are happy to please and devour attention hungrily. Excitement and praise is infinite, you can carry it anyplace you go, and it costs nothing. Not only this but it won’t sour or spoil your baby, at least not in a negative way. This course strongly encourages you to praise your baby when they make signs with enthusiasm. Every time my son learned a new sign we would clap and say “yeahhhhh” in an excited voice. It came to the point where Holden would come to expect this praise and when he made a new sign he would imitate the tone himself and would clap his hands. This helped us to know when he was really focused on doing a sign and helped us identify his approximations. Rewarding signs in the same way each time helps your baby understand when they’re doing something right. Praise shows your baby that you’re proud. In turn, you’ll see their face light up with joy at their accomplishments.
Above: He gets pretty excited in this video about signing and life! One of the first sentences he made was LION EAT GIRAFFE. It’s a funny story, but we were watching videos on youtube and a nature one came up. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but we put up a safari video. As I sat next to him, the lions jumped up on the giraffe and took it down before I could stop the video. Holden would probably have rather not watched the video, but it was too late. He was upset, and we had many “conversations” about it later using signs. Had he not known the signs, we would have never known he was so upset by what he saw or been able to talk about it to resolve it. During this conversation he throws in some other words for good measure. It’s funny to actually get inside the mind of a toddler once he’s armed with signs!
Therefore, we recommend that you have a set way you reward new signs so that your baby understands that they have done something correctly. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but should be roughly similar. The only true importance is that your bay knows they are doing something right. After the first few times, it’s not necessary to continue with dramatic excitement, but if it’s in your character, by all means do so. We really prefer to reserve the drama for special times such as doing new signs, so it stays fresh and unique. After a while, just the ability to communicate thoughts, feelings, and desires, becomes the reward for your baby, so getting excited is not necessary. Remember that communication is innate to all people and a baby will learn it no matter what, however, to speed things up, show a baby that you are proud of them and that they are on the right track.