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To answer your questions, there is no right answer! I started signing with Jonah the day he was born, because that is what came naturally to me. A lot of people here also have been signing since birth and have seen a lot of benefits from it. On the flip side, a lot of people on the board have started signing later and have see benefits from that too.
The biggest difference is wait time. If you sign early with your baby, then your baby might start making connections and *might* start signing earlier. However the time between when you start signing and when your baby signs back to you would be longer- six to nine months. If you start signing later, like around six months, then your baby might not sign until a little later in age but you won't be signing as long so it might be less frustrating. Babies who are signed to between birth and three months will start signing anywhere between 6-12 months, and babies signed to between 6-9 months will probably be closer to a year when they begin signing. I hope that makes sense!
The books all say to start between 6-8 months old, because that is when children begin showing an understanding of means-ends problem solving (I can do this to get that) They start understanding communication, and begin to use gestures to get a desired response- pointing, waving, tugging on mommy's pants etc. But the way I see it, is that I didn't start talking to my son at the age where he could comprehend the words; I have talked to him his whole life. Signing is exactly the same learning process of learning verbal language, so the earlier you expose them to it, the easier it is for them to make those connections.
As for which signs to start with, most people start with "milk" for nursing or bottles. The easiest way to choose some signs to start with is to think about what would be the best thing for your child to communicate to you. "milk" "eat" "change" (for diapers)are all great because they allow your child to communicate basic needs.
Check out our FAQ thread, there's a lot of info about getting started there! Please feel free to ask any questions or jump into any discussions here on the board!
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Thank You, Pattyandthemoos, for my beautiful siggy!
I started signing to my baby when he was around 4 months. No reason why I waited for that age other than that is when I felt comfortable enough to start signing. I started out "milk" and "change" for change diaper. I also made sure DH and my parents would use the same signs when they were taking care of my baby.
It might make sense to wait until your child can really focus her eyes but start when you're ready. My son is hearing impaired so we started early. The woman who began working with us when he was a baby said she knew a little one who could sign "milk" at 4 months of age!
I started with my son at around 4-6 months old with the simple things like more and milk. As I started giving him more foods I started giving him more signs. When I started teaching him the colors and ABCs I gave him more signs. When I would ask him what toy he wanted I would use signs too. Pretty much for the first year, year and a half of his life I would sign and talk at the same time with him. Sometimes I would forget to sign but I tried to do it constantly.
He is now 3 and still wants to learn more! I was taught sign language when I was a baby...I was signing before talking. I still know American Sign Language and have been teaching my son since he was 4-6 months old and he now talks and does not really NEED it, but still enjoys learning new signs.
I personally beliveve once the baby is able to focus and see you well, then its time to start....and why not continue until they no longer want to learn. That what was dne with me and now I am working at a job where I use my skill of signing everyday, you never know where signing could lead your child (depending on their interest).
Thank you so much to Misfitinmn for my beautiful siggy!