I’d like to finish this chapter by saying that signing is meant to be a fun experience. Challenging too, yes, but above all, it must be fun. If signing is not fun, then you’re not doing it right! This isn’t a race so never confuse the destination with the process. Sports psychologists will emphasis to players the step by step nature of any given process for the expressed reason of taking their minds off their goal. Yes, hockey players want to put the puck in the net and win the game, but there’s much more to it than just this. Not only that, but if you constantly focus on the results you end up tripping yourself up. In other words, you forget to implement the individual skills needed to achieve your goal. When shooting a free-throw basket, you don’t think, “ball in net, ball in net” over and over again. You think about proper hand placement on the ball, vision of the net, the fluid arc your arm and hands will make, and so forth. The “ball in net” mentality with baby sign language will leave you wanting and struggling, racing even, to a finish line that is only part of the overall “game.” What fun would it be if you just showed up to a sporting event only to find out you already won? None at all, in fact, you wouldn’t even show up, why would you? The game is the fun, not the result!
So yes, getting your baby to sign is the goal, but the process is the fun part. Take your time as you work through the individual steps and master them on the way. Get your “arms in the right shooting position, follow through, and keep your eye on the net” and you’re bound to succeed. Focus on scoring all the time, and all you will get is disappointment. If you find yourself focused on the wrong things, revisit the course material and re-examine your strategies. Communicating with your baby is not a chore, it shouldn’t be mentally taxing and it shouldn’t leave you frustrated or struggling. The bottom line is that if you aren’t enjoying the process then you’re doing it all wrong! Besides, if you aren’t finding it fun, then chances are pretty good that neither is your baby.
Above: Lots going on in this video! Rough spoken words in combination with signs to make a fluid and dynamic conversation between Mom, Dad and baby. Communication is so easy when baby knows signs!