Thursday, November 14, 2013

How Long Must I Wait?

As with anything, signing with your baby takes time.  It takes time for you to learn the signs you want to incorporate into your life.  It takes time for your baby understand when you are signing to him.  It takes time for your baby to start signing back.

This is, of course, completely logical and should be expected if you stop to think about it.  Development is change over time.  No time, no change. It certainly doesn't make it any more fun to wait for that exciting first sign or other milestone to show up, though!

The younger your child is when you start signing with him/her, the longer it will take until he or she signs back.  In my family, we started signing with each boy less than a week after they were born.  We saw a first sign from each boy around four and half months - a wait of about 16 weeks.  Families who start signing with a 6 month old might will typically see a first sign in about 10 weeks.  Those who wait until baby is a year old might see a sign the same day, and usually within 2 weeks.  No matter how long it is, though, that wait can be excruciating.

It's important to remind yourself of the great things you're doing for your whole family by allowing a venue for early communication and long term learning such as American Sign Language.  "Keep your eye on the prize" as they say.  Sometimes, it's still tempting to be impatient - it's definitely more fun and more exciting when baby understands you, and when he uses signs to let you know what he needs and what he's interested in.  Their enthusiasm is incredibly contagious!

How did you help yourself remain focused and patient while waiting to see your baby's Signing Smart milestones emerge?

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