Initially, adding signs throughout the day sounds like more work than just blocking out a signing session once a day, but in actual fact, it makes things so much easier. Think about this for a second, you wouldn’t set time aside to talk to your baby, you do this throughout the day, and signing to them is no different. You can sign during playtime, mealtime, bath time and while you change diapers. There’s no bad time to sign to your baby and signing throughout the day means you can carry on with whatever it is you are doing and just move your hands along with your mouth! There will be times your baby is less focused than others, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid signing to them – it just means that you’ll be competing for their attention.
To be able to sign throughout the day, you’ll need to do some advanced planning, so here are some activity based signs that work at various times of the day:
When giving a bath use appropriate words like BATH, WATER, HOT, COLD, CLEAN, WASH, DUCK, DRY, BLANKET.
While getting dressed sign SOCKS, SHIRT, PANTS, HAT, SHOES.
When changing baby’s diaper use CHANGE, DIAPER, DIRTY, WET, POTTY.
At nap or sleep time use SLEEP/BED, TIRED, BLANKET, TOOTHBRUSH.
Have food related signs ready for mealtimes such as MILK, WATER, DRINK, BOTTLE, EAT, MORE, APPLE, PEACH, BANANA, CRACKER, MEAT, HUNGRY, etc.
Introduce activity signs ready throughout the day such as: PLAY, DOLL, BALL, BOOK, HIDE, JUMP, MUSIC, DANCE, RUN, SWING, WALK, etc.
When visiting the zoo, pet store, farm, or even just going outdoors have animal related signs set to go like ELEPHANT, COW, FISH, DUCK, CAT, DOG, CHICKEN, BIRD, BUTTERFLY, BUG, BEAR, ALLIGATOR, FROG, GIRAFFE, GOAT, GORILLA, HIPPO, HORSE, KANGAROO, LION, LIZARD, MONKEY, MOUSE, PENGUIN, PIG, RABBIT, SHEEP, SNAKE, SPIDER, SQUIRREL, TIGER, TURTLE, ZEBRA.
When outside sign WIND, SUN, TREE, MOON, RAIN, GRASS, FLOWER, CLOUDS, BOAT, CAR, TRUCK, BICYCLE, AIRPLANE, TRAIN.
Above: Baby signing SUN, MOON and STARS in different contexts. You can combine images in books with real life situations to teach the signs for SUN, MOON, and STARS. Note in the video where I’m building the tower that you’ll see Holden see the moon out the door behind me! After the signs are taught in context, you can quiz in any situation to incorporate more repetition.
Create independence in your baby with DOWN, MINE, UP, WANT, WHERE, HELP.
To teach your baby about their family use GRANDMA, GRANDPA, SISTER, BROTHER, DAD, MOM, UNCLE, AUNT.
Above: Playing around with family signs.
To build emotional integrity and control outbursts teach ANGRY, SAD, CRY, SCARED, HAPPY, HURT, HOT and COLD.
Teach proper behaviours with STOP, WAIT, YES, NO, SHARE, QUIET, GOOD, BAD, NO TOUCH, TOUCH GENTLE, SIT.
To teach manners use PLEASE, SORRY, THANK YOU, YOU’RE WELCOME.
Above: Manners are important and they can be started early. In this video you will see PLEASE, THANK YOU, SHARE and SORRY. At first baby signing manners is just out of habit, but with time, manners will come naturally and be understood. Using a doll can be of assistance in teaching manners, just watch!