Step 9 – Advancing
Your child is growing and advancing! How exciting! You are now probably combining signs and speech with your child. This can greatly enhance his vocabulary as well as give him the ability to learn new concepts that he may not be able to verbalize.
There are many more fun things you can do now to teach your baby sign language. There include: incorporating the alphabet, colors, and numbers into games and activities.
When your child is around 18 months to 2 years old, you can start teaching him the alphabet. You can sing the song while signing the letters to begin with. You can also write your child’s name and point to the letters as you sign them. To see the alphabet chart again or our alphabet video, visit our ASL Alphabet page. Your child may have difficulty forming the letters because his hands are so small. I suggest you help your child form the letters with his hands. If he doesn’t let you, though, don’t force him. He will eventually catch on.
Colors are also great fun! You can start by teaching him the primary colors, then move on to secondary, then black, white, pink, etc. Point to colors and sign the color. Then, move on to pointing to objects your child already knows the sign for, and add a color to it. What fun! You can see the signs for colors by visiting the Colors category from our ASL Dictionary page. Once your child starts to learn colors, your chances of figuring out what your child wants is much greater. If your child asks for something, you can ask what color the object is that he wants, and if he knows the color, he can tell you!
You may be able to even start teaching your child how to count. Incorporate numbers into your activities, and make a game out of those as well. You can see the numbers in ASL in action by visiting the Numbers category from our ASL Dictionary page.
By this time, your child may have mastered all the signs I have already showed you, is getting bored with the signs they know, or you want to teach more advanced signs to your toddler. Choose some more advanced signs from the link below that will introduce new concepts and really broaden your child’s world:
In the next step, I will show you how signing can be used with your older child and into preschool. You’re really moving along!
Move on to Step 10 – Your Growing Child…