When you sign for your baby in sentences slow down your speech so that your baby knows which words you are signing. You don’t have to pause between each word, just try not to jumble them all up so words seem connected. You want your baby to understand that each word is separate from the next. Just based on the fact that most parents won’t be able to sign as quickly as they speak will necessitates that speech be slowed. Slowing speech will allow you to incorporate the sign at appropriate times coupled with emphasis so that babies understands what is being taught. English is a language that can easily be spoken quickly, but this makes is hard for a baby to pick one word from another. If your baby can’t separate one word from the next, he won’t be able to figure out what sign you are doing for what word. This is also part of the reason words need to be used in many different sentences.
Take the word “no”, by example. This often the first word a baby says verbally. This is because it is emphasized so often in a forceful tone, repeated so much more frequently than others, and used in multiple contexts throughout the day. It is also applied so as to prevent your baby from doing things your baby finds important, so it matters to them. “Mom” and “Dad” are also part of baby’s first words, primarily because they are easy to say, but also because baby hears them so often as we nudge them to speak them back to us. Music to our ears! The point is to slow down your speech and use the sign coupled with emphasis to demonstrate to your baby which words are important. If you speed right through hoping that your baby can keep up, you’ll just bog down the process. As always, repeat the key words as often as you can manage and in many different situations.