Today’s article is a guest article from the BabySignLanguage.com website. I taught both my boys baby sign language and LOVED it! And, so did they. Who knew that my son would have wanted to do art every day after breakfast when he was one year old if he couldn’t tell me? It was a wonderful gift for both of us to reduce frustration and communicate more than I imagined I could with a one year old. I highly recommend teaching baby sign language to your little one.
Baby Sign Language is a popular and effective communication tool for parents and babies, reducing frustration and helping with the bonding process. One surprising effect of baby signing is that it can also help your baby to sleep. Parents who sign with their babies often report that bedtimes are less stressful, and babies or toddlers actually tell them when they’re tired! So how exactly does baby sign language help?
Baby Signing As Part Of A Bedtime Routine
Many parents know the importance of a bedtime routine. A bath, followed by milk and cuddles, then a story, is the foundation of a good night’s sleep. Learning the signs for Bath and Milk are fun ways for baby to communicate with you at this important time of the day. When Mom signs that it’s bath time, your baby will understand what is to come, and feel more secure and confident. Babies love to know what’s happening – and their confidence increases every time they correctly predict what will happen next.
Baby Signing Reduces Frustration
Tiredness and frustration are a major cause of a baby not sleeping well. Baby sign language is proven to reduce frustration in babies and toddlers. As their understanding grows, their ability to communicate also grows, along with their confidence. A happy, contented baby goes to sleep more easily than an anxious, frustrated one.
The Tiredness Trick
When a baby is still young, she will need at least one nap a day, as well as around 11-12 hours sleep a night. Some babies are masters at hiding the fact that they are tired! Watching for and learning your baby’s drowsy signals will help you to know when it’s time for a nap or bed. As part of everyday signing, babies learn signs for Tired and Sleep. With repetition and regular practice, your baby will learn to recognize when she is tired. This prevents over-tiredness, a common cause of disrupted sleep.
Baby Sign Language at Bedtime and Practicing
It’s a good idea to practice the bedtime routine through play. Making the signs for Tired and Sleep, show your little one that Teddy is tired and wants to sleep now. Put him to bed and read him a story. Leave the room for a moment then go back in to wake him up. Repeating this play will teach your baby that Mommy or Daddy will always come back when sleeping time is over.
Bonding With Baby Sign Language
Signing with your baby creates, over time, a fantastically strong bond. Sleeping alone (nighttime separation) is not as stressful for babies who are securely attached. Signing gives lots of opportunities for positive attention throughout the day, reducing the need for babies and toddlers to ‘play up’ at nap times. Parents are more confident about understanding their baby, so aren’t as anxious if there is a little ‘tired’ crying when baby’s in bed.
Baby Signs To Help With Your Baby’s Sleep
To sign Tired, extend your fingers and hold them together. Start with your fingers touching your chest, with your elbows up. Drop your elbows down. It is as if you are so tired you cannot keep holding your arms up.
To sign Sleep, start with fingers extended and spread apart. Beginning with your hand over your face, move your fingers down to end with your hand below your chin and your fingers touching your thumb. To add to the sleepy effect, as you make the sign feel your face relax and your eyes get droopy.
The milk sign is a lot like milking a cow (or goat), but without the vertical motion – you are just squeezing the udder. You take both hands, make them into a fist, relax, and repeat. You will notice most babies have trouble moving all fingers together at uniform speeds, but any kind of repeated squeezing and relaxing of the hand is likely milk.
To sign Bath, make a fist out of your two hands, then move the fists vertically up and down your chest. The sign looks a lot like someone scrubbing themselves with both hands.
Be sure to check out the Baby Sign Language website for any questions you have in helping your baby with their daily routine through signing. This a free resource to all the mother’s and father’s out there who want to start signing with their baby.