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I don't know if someone's posted about this or not, but how do babies know what you are saying to them in sign? Also, how early would you ladies recommend I start teaching Ava sign? She's 6 weeks old, and I know that's early, but we're already doing the sign for "milk" and "I love you." Everyone in the house is learning!
Congratulations on your new little one! I'm glad you have decided to sign with Ava, and those are good questions.
When you give your baby her milk, say the word, and do the sign, the spoken word and the sign reinforce the object you just gave her. So she learns to associate the word and sign with that yummy stuff she drinks. The same goes for Ball, or Eat, or any other sign. They only know what you're saying in sign, if you teach them what it means.
I Love You is a great sign, but it's not a concept that babies understand yet. So while your baby may sign it back to you, she won't really know what she's saying until she's older. That doesn't mean you shouldn't teach it to her, as she will eventually catch on, but it's much easier for babies to learn words that are concrete, i.e. things that you can point at. It would be helpful to sign I Love You whenever you give her a big hug or kiss, or at special moments like when you rock her to sleep, so she can associate the sign with being close to you and give it more meaning.
Any age is a good age to start signing, but when to start signing really has more to do with you than your baby; if you want to start signing right away (and it seems that you already have), go for it! That will give your family plenty of time to learn new signs and incorporate them into your routine without being overwhelmed. If you want more immediate results, I would recommend waiting until Ava is around 6-9 months old. This is the age that most babies begin to sign back, so there will be less time between you teaching her and her signing back to you.
Ok, I figured if you had something tangible, they would understand better...DH asked and I wanted to know for sure. DH's cousin just sent me a book she says is really good, Sign With Your Baby by Dr. Burton White. I haven't read it yet coz I got it last night, but I hope it's good.
I've started with Ava mostly so that once she's older, we've already got the hang of it. It's funny, I wasn't going to sign with Ava and I stumbled upon this board and decided to do it lol.
Sorry, I went on a tangent..thanks for the advice and help!
A&C'sMom pretty much said it all Basically a child learns signing the same way that she learns spoken languages. If you use the sign repeatedly, consistently, and in context, she will pick up on the meaning. Just as you would say over and over again to an infant or young toddler 'This is a teddy bear. You love your teddy bear! Your teddy bear is brown' etc, the toddler/infant will soon pick up that "teddy bear" refers to this brown snuggly thing he carries around. If you keep giving the sign along with the word, the toddler/infant will learn that the word AND the sign refer to this object, and he will be able to produce the sign much more easily than the spoken word.
Click the blinkies!
Thank You, Pattyandthemoos, for my beautiful siggy!