A Little or a Lot? It’s Up to You
Different parents have different goals when it comes to signing. Some parents want to give their babies the ability to communicate through symbols while they are still preverbal. These parents will be satisfied if their babies can only express their basic needs with signs such as MILK, DIAPER, and EAT.
Other parents want to give their children communication assistance as they make their way through toddlerhood. The goal of these parents is to help their children to express not only their needs but their wants as well.
Finally, other parents hope to lay a foundation for continuing with sign language in the future. These parents want their children to acquire every sign they can so that they can go beyond the basic signs and learn to sign fluently as they get older.
While your goals for your baby’s future are important, do not let them get in the way of what you can teach her in the short term. Focusing too much on the big picture can detract from the little accomplishments that your baby reaches today.
No matter which type of parent you are, it is up to you to determine how much you want to sign with your child. If you are undecided, you might want to start out small and expand your goals as your baby becomes more proficient in sign. No matter how much signing you ultimately use with her, she will most likely be able to communicate earlier than many of her nonsigning peers, even if only to a small degree.