Is Your Baby Old Enough??
A common question I get is “When should I start signing with my baby?” The experts once said that six months was the ideal time to start signing with babies. However, after years of research we have now found that you can start signing as soon as they are born. It was once thought that babies wouldn’t sign before the age of six months so that was a perfect time to start. What we are now seeing is that babies are able to recognize signs before the age of six months and some will actually start signing at the six month mark. See this video of my son signing ‘milk’ at six months: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w1DeWxKGTw
I started signing with both my children when they were 4 months because with both children I was in a newborn haze for the first 4 months and did nothing but watch ‘baby TV’ as we called it. My son started signing back at six months, my daughter at nine and a half. At eleven moths both of them had a signing explosion.
What MY answer to this question is, “It depends on your personality.” And what I mean by that is this, if you are the type of person that needs ‘instant gratification’ then I would wait until your baby was between six-nine months to start signing. If you know that you would give up if your child didn’t sign back within a few weeks then I’d wait a while. This is the number two mistake parents make when signing with their babies, they give up too soon! The number one mistake is being consistent. Check my next blog post where I’ll talk about how to sign and being consistent.
On the other hand, if you are the type of person who really wants to sign and will be committed to doing it until your baby signs back then start whenever you are out of that newborn haze! There is no time too soon or too late. If you have a 17 month old baby who isn’t talking much then introduce signs, it’s not too late! Children love sign language, even older children. If you have an older child you can sign the alphabet with him or her. It’s a fun way to introduce a new language!
The perfect sign to start with is ‘milk’ all babies have some form of milk whether it be formula or nursing. Here is the sign ‘milk’ to help you get started: