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losing signs?

Forum: Baby Signing


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December 3rd, 2009, 05:56 AM
luvmygirls333's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 623
Ally learned the sign for milk on the very first day I started teaching her (she was about 12 mo) and she learned more, eat, drink and all done soon after. But she would only do those ones occasionally and if prompted. She kind of did milk for everything. Now she doesn't do the milk sign anymore and just signs "more" for everything. How do I get her to start using the other signs again? When she does "more" and I know she wants to nurse, I put her hands down and say, not more, milk, and do the milk sign, but that just makes her mad. And the same thing for eat and all done and drink. Any tips?
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December 3rd, 2009, 08:04 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 2,039
She's onto the right idea, realizing that signs are used to communicate that she needs something; she just hasn't yet learned that each sign means something different. I can see why she's chosen More as her favorite sign; whether she's wanting more of a yummy treat or more kisses, she always gets more of what she wanted when she signed it. So all she has to do now is think of what she wants, sign more, and mommy will give it to her, right? From a toddler's point of view, I can see how that makes perfect sense, but it's not very helpful to mommy.

Since she's only been signing for about two months, I would probably suggest to just continue what you're doing and give her a little more time to learn what each sign means. Just remember to be consistent in your signing, and be very specific when showing her signs for anything. And when the More sign is appropriate in a situation, try to always pair it with another sign that shows what she's getting more of (More Milk, Eat More, etc).

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December 3rd, 2009, 10:32 AM
Effervescence's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 6,791
Hi! It's great to hear from you!

Jonah did this when he first started signing as well. It's pretty common, at least in the groups of children that I've worked with. As the above post suggested, I agree that she is just learning that the signs mean something and has generalized the sign "more" to mean "I want (fill in the blank)" As a matter of fact, Jonah still does this with both milk AND more. If I can't get him what he wants right away, he adds milk into his signing as if it is emphasizing that he wants it NOW.

One thing that children have to do when they learn language is assign words into meaningful categories and assign the words specific meanings. Until they do that, they tend to generalize words to have many different meanings. This happens at several stages of learning spoken language, so it can be expected to happen with signing as well (signing is a language that is learned just as a verbal language would be learned) Jonah still uses "milk" to mean anything in his sippy cup. We are trying to teach him the signs for Juice or Water, but until he learns to put juice and water into their own categories with a specific meaning (linguistically speaking) then he will continue to generalize milk.

That's a long winded explanation, but sometimes it helps to know what is going on in their little heads when it comes to language and signing Basically all you have to do is continue to sign consistently. Do as you are doing and tell her "no, not more- you want to eat!" Just keep presenting the signs to her, and she will learn to specify.

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