I am so excited to share with you all that Squishy signed his first word last week!! As you may have read recently, I have been teaching Squishy baby sign language in an attempt to help reduce his frustration when he needs something. So, instead of crying and wailing when he wants milk, a diaper change, something to eat, etc… he can just sign it to me. It’s been proven that babies use hand gestures before they learn to speak, so teaching him sign language can actually bridge the gap of his current language barrier.
I began our sign language journey when Squishy was 4 months old- I figured the earlier I start, the earlier he will sign back to me… and I was right! The very first word I started signing to him was “milk”. I would sign “milk” anytime he would cry for a bottle, right before feedings and afterwards so that he can make that connection between the object and my gesture. A couple months afterward he began showing interest and understanding toward my signing and I knew that he was making that connection so I added a few more words to our list- eat, more, mama, and water.
Last week, at 9 months old, Squishy was playing in his bouncer for a few minutes when he started crying. I was keeping an eye on him from across the room and as soon as I heard him crying I looked over to see what he was doing. Then he looked at me, stopped crying, reached his hand out and started signing the word “milk”! I was completely shocked and excited all at once. Was he actually signing? Or was it just him trying to get my attention?
He was signing, all right! I could tell how focused and concentrated he was trying to get the gesture right. He kept looking at his hand and then looking at me as he signed. When I asked, “Milk? Do you want Milk?” while signing back to him, he lit up! So I showed him his bottle, signed the word “milk” again, and gave it to him. He started drinking it and signed it back to me again! I was stunned! My little boy can sign!
It has been an entire week of him signing the word “milk” and I can honestly say I get so excited each time he does it. He no longer cries when he wants his bottle, and just signs it. I am so excited to continue our sign language journey and I’ll bet he’ll be signing the other words in no time!
Do you teach your babies or children sign language?
What is your favorite word to sign?