Many toddlers Ethan's age - ie 20 months are bouncing around saying Mama, Dada, Doggie, Byebye, and a good list of other words. Ethan on the other hand has about 3 words he constantly says- Mama, Dada, Dat (that)and a few other words he randomly throws out from time to time.
However homeboy can sign a good 50 words which means that our pediatrician isn't the least bit worried. I have friends that have seen Ethan sign and have come to me for advice so while I'm no baby signing expert I thought it would be nice to give what advice I can to everyone in hopes that if you want to teach your child to sign it helps.
1. Make the commitment- It is a long, tedious, and frustrating process but when you start seeing the results its completely worth it.We had books on baby signing before Ethan was born. Why? Because you can't teach someone something if you don't know what to teach
2.Start Early- It can't hurt to start teach your child early, how early? We started at about 4 months. No Ethan didn't start signing back right away, to be honest it was months after that which he started to sign. But he did know what we were saying. I would sign milk and he would smile, or I would sign no and he would look at me and give me the stink eye. Either way he started to understand what we were saying
3.Be persistent- Every time you say a word, even if your not talking to your child use the sign with it. Why? because once you get in the habit of it, then its second nature and therefor so much easier.
4..Be patient- It sucks feeling like your talking to yourself, or feeling like you kid is never going to get it. But its no worse then constantly walking around going " say mama, say mama". Yeah same thing
5. Try a few different signs at the same time- We started with Mama, Dada, Milk, Eat, and No. Ethan picked up on milk and eat the quickest. By giving them a few words together they don't feel forced into saying one particular thing and can choose what works for them. Just like how your child hears you say hundreds of different words a day, not just the same 1 or 2.
6. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition- Yeah I think that's pretty self explanatory
7. Get everyone involved- You can't be the only one signing. You need to have everyone involved in your child's daily life involved in signing. I mean look at it this way. You speak English to your kiddo, but everyone else around him speaks pig Latin. Do you really think your kid is going to start speaking English? No.