Experts agree that introducing children to different languages should begin as early as possible. The earlier, the better! Teaching young children sign language is a huge topic and one that many daycare providers or those that own childcare centers have shown interest.
A daycare owner asked: “Can anyone recommend books that I can use to teach infants and toddlers sign language? Also, has anyone used picture cards before? How do they work? I have a special needs child that needs a method to communicate and I know a little sign language, but never used with a little one and never used picture cards”.
We asked the Own A Daycare Facebook members for suggestions. Here are some of the best responses:
- I am a deaf mom of 2 children. I mostly sign to my kids often with my own hand. You can look up on the internet how to sign words then sign to your child. There are also baby sign language classes. Another suggestion is to find a new friend who is deaf or has a deaf child. Buddy up with them and they will be glad help you teach sign language for your children.
- There is a program called “Signing Time” that I use as a teaching tool. It has a lot of visual and musical elements. It makes it easy to learn the “right” way versus “Hopefully the right way”.
- I use Baby Signs https://www.babysigns.com/. We have the DVD Baby Signs, which we watch with our daughter. It also comes with books. Repetition is key no matter what book or dvd you use. Simple signs to start (milk, please, more…then on to harder signs Mommy, Daddy, thank you). I was raised by parents who were deaf. For obvious reasons, I had no choice but to learn.
- I have a very fun song book to help teach signs to babies and toddlers. It also comes with a CD too. It is called “Pick Me Up! Fun Songs for Learning Signs by Sign 2 Me”. They have songs like “Change my Diaper”, and “Where is Baby’s Tummy”. All the signs are ASL or American Sign Language. Beware of things called Baby Signs, they are fine for most kids but are not ASL and if a child will need these to communicate beyond parents it is better to work with ASL. Hope this helps.
- When we had to learn for our son, our speech therapist turned us onto some online pages and we also went to Barnes and Noble and purchased some books, CD’s and flash cards.
- The best way to teach a child or toddler how to sign is to sign things to them. There are online dictionaries and lots of books for adults to learn sign. You can learn the basics and talk to the child out loud while you sign simple signs like ‘more’, ‘eat’, ‘help’. But there are many books for kids that also have sign language. That would be better than using flash cards to try to teach it. And I’m pretty sure that if you research it some, you will find that using sign language even with typically developing children will boost their language skills, not hinder.
- There are some books from Scholastic that you can get that are like a short story for kids. A lot of what I have done with my kids is just learn as we go. I think they will learn better from you rather than a video. I have had the kids ask me how to sign certain words and they we just look them up online together.
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