Parenting is a lifetime affirmation to give the baby a quality life, and this endeavor begins as soon as the little angel is born. Every parent wants to see happy kids, but in the initial few years, kids tend to communicate via crying or irritation, which also becomes a challenge for parents.
To develop effective communication and bonding with your baby, teach him baby sign language - a practical approach that parents have adopted recently. This guide aspires to provide easy Indian baby sign language basics that parents can practice without special training.
Understanding Baby Sign Language
Infants can use sign language with hand movements and gestures, which are simple for both parents and babies. There were times when sign language was confined to individuals who had hearing or speaking issues, but now it is successfully transformed for babies with essential words that are used daily.
Here are some of the critical benefits of baby sign language in the initial preverbal phase:
- The ability to communicate allows the development of strong bonds.
- Baby tends to be content and happy, reducing tantrums since parents can understand the cues with ease
- Parents are also less frustrated while raising happy children
- Lays the base for communication and language acquisition in the early stage
- Enhances cognitive skills that have a crucial play in the later part of child growth
Despite growing awareness of infant sign language, some parents are still reluctant to go ahead and adopt this practice since some myths and disadvantages of baby sign language are spread, leading to confusion.
Here are some myths on the baby sign language that parents should be aware
- Sign language would delay baby speech: This is a myth since parents tend to consistently associate signs with particular words. They speak to establish an association between the word and sign in the baby’s mind. The exposure to words and communication that sign language provides for young children subsequently promotes language development.
- Educators do not support newborn baby sign language: Associations involved in early child development incorporate and promote sign language as they consider it essential for every growing child.
- Teaching sign language is effortful and time-consuming: Teaching sign language is not complex since you communicate with the child frequently in a regular routine. Hence, you do not need to devote specific time or learning routine. Sign language can be taught during mealtime, bedtime, or bath time to achieve desired results.
- Teaching sign language is torturing babies: Some parents think teaching babies at such a young age would burden the little soul too early. However, this isn’t true because you simplify the baby’s life as he can express his needs easily.
Getting Started with Indian Baby Sign Language
If you plan to introduce sign language to your tiny tot, you should first study the various signs and then choose the ones your baby needs to use frequently. Understand that sign language aims to make communication easy, so the choice of words and signs should be according to the baby’s needs.
Also, you need to be consistent in the initial days since it is a new concept for the child, and every child has different learning capabilities. When you start, that baby should be calm and alert without any distractions around.
10 Easy Indian Baby Sign Language Basics
We will be discussing the ten easy Indian sign languages that your baby would benefit from in daily routine. Let us learn how to teach baby sign language effectively with the right approach.
#Sign 1: Milk
It is recommended to start with something that the baby wants since it becomes easy to grasp. To indicate milk, you need to use your hand and make a fist, extend the fingers, relax, and repeat. It looks like squeezing, which your baby might find difficult to copy initially, but with regular practice, it will become easy.
You could use the sign during feeding to ensure better association of action with the word. Say milk and make the movement several times while the baby feeds.
#Sign 2: More
Sometimes, the baby would want more feed, especially if it is his favorite food, but how would he ask for it? By crying or throwing tantrums? If you teach sign language, he will easily convey his requirements and have a happy feeding time.
Use both your hands and pinch the fingers and thumbs together to make two O patterns, and then tap the fingertips together. You can repeat this a few times and pull the hands apart.
As the baby gets older, he will explore using the sign proficiently, but make sure you use this sign every time the baby wants more food or play.
#Sign 3: Eat
The eat sign language becomes crucial once the baby turns six months old and starts feeding on solid food apart from milk. To demonstrate eating, you need to join your fingers with the thumb, making an O, and then bring it close to your mouth. You may even open your mouth a bit, like putting food items inside.
Make sure you serve the food when your baby indicates before each meal, so you might have to ask the baby to show the sign. With practice, you will see that he will come to you and communicate with the movement whenever he needs to eat.
#Sign 4: Water
Encourage your baby to sign water whenever he is thirsty or wants his Sippy cup. Use your three fingers to form a W sign and touch the index finger to the chin.
Speak the word while doing the action so that the child’s attention goes to what you are saying, enabling him to build an association of the term with effort.
#Sign 5: Sleep
Another vital baby sign is sleeping, and they should know how to use it to convey when they are exhausted and need rest during the daytime. You may initially focus on teaching sleep around bedtime and then before naptime.
Spread your fingers over the forehead and then move the hand downward towards the chin and make a fist below the chin. Also, close your eyes and have a calm look so that the baby understands that he will feel relaxed during sleep.
Also Read: Healthy Eating Tips For Your Baby
#Sign 6: Play
Every tiny tot loves to play and wants extended playtime, and therefore, teaching your baby sign language for play is a good idea. To indicate play, you need to use your thumb and baby fingers of both hands while folding the rest of the fingers to the palm.
Then, you need to twist both hands and have a happy face to strengthen the connection between the sign and the word.
#Sign 7: Diaper
A filled diaper is the most irritating thing for a baby since he feels wet and uncomfortable, and thus, teaching the diaper sign would help him convey to you that he wants a change. Use both hands and place them near your waist.
Keep index and middle fingers straight with the other two fingers folded inwards. Then, bring the hands close to the waist and say the word diaper before every change.
#Sign 8: All Done
There will be situations when your baby will want you to stop doing a task; it may be feeding or any routine activity. The all-done sign helps him let you know that he isn’t interested in the ongoing process anymore and wants it to stop. Take both hands up with palms facing inside and turn them facing the palms outward.
#Sign 9: Help
You should teach your baby help signs since he is dependent on you for all kinds of tasks. With one hand, make a fist, the thumb straight upwards, and place this hand on the other flat hand. The hand sign will reduce the child’s frustration as he will get assistance whenever required.
#Sign 10: Thank You
You should raise a smart yet sensitive kid since it will shape your child’s future, ensuring that he learns the importance of expressing gratitude to others. Sign thank you by straightening the fingers and thumb, touching the fingers to the chin, and then gently pulling away.
Guidelines for Baby Sign Language Teaching
Learning is a continuous process, and your baby has just begun with it; therefore, you must be patient with him. Regular practice will let the baby learn at his own pace without frustrating him.
Use visual aids to simplify the learning process further and comprehend that your child will learn when he sees you repeating the signs regularly. Thus, integrate the signs into the daily routine to witness the transformation.
Cultural Considerations for Indian Baby Sign Language
Every parent wants their child to inherit the cultural and spiritual values so that the child grows to be intelligent and sensitive. In India, you should adopt signs that are in accordance with the society’s cultural practices to ensure that when your child grows, he imbibes the values and adjusts well.
There are several resources online that render a wide range of baby sign words and actions that parents can refer to.
Now that we are aware of the various signs, it is time to adopt this modern approach and achieve strong bonding and an interactive child who knows what he wants.Your child would get interested in conversations as he will actively participate with the signs, leading to a confident child. If you still have not started using sign language, it is never too late; start today and put in the effort for happy parenting and childhood.