Step 5 – Caregivers
Some parents who use baby sign language stay at home with their children while others leave for work. If you are working away from home, you most likely leave your baby with a caregiver or family member.
If your baby’s caregiver is not involved in the signing process, this may be of concern to you. You may be worried that your caregiver not signing with your baby may hinder your efforts. This is not the case. If you are signing with your baby, and your caregiver is not, it will not hinder the learning process. BUT…if your caregiver signs with your baby, it’s a big plus.
Either way, be upfront about your baby signing with your caregiver. Explain the benefits you have learned and show them several signs. You may be surprised, but many daycares are already implementing baby sign language. If yours is not, you may want to encourage them to start signing with not only your baby, but also all of them. Again, explain the benefits. It will lessen frustration for the babies, and be great fun too!
For your babysitter, you will want to let him or her know about your signing efforts and teach them a few signs that your baby will be likely to use. You can provide a sign language book for your sitter to use while they’re babysitting as well.
Involving family members can be a very fun and exciting experience as well. Most likely, you attend family events like dinners, birthdays, and holidays. These are great times to share your baby’s signs and your efforts. Even if your family doesn’t teach your baby new signs, it’s always helpful if they know what the signs mean. It is also very positive when more people than just you sign with your baby. Your baby will then feel more comfortable and more likely to be understood. There may be some skepticism during the beginning though, but remember what I said, they will be blown away when your child signs!
Move on to Step 6 – More Signs…