Baby’s learning process takes place mostly in the presence of their parents and families and in environments where they spend most of their time. These people and places take an active part in their development and give them opportunities for exploring. You may find it challenging to create the right type of learning environment for your baby. Here are some ideas that might help you along the way.
Having Daily Routines:
Routines are things that we do on a regular basis and in almost the same way each time. There may be slight variations but they are very few. Because of this, routines are predictable and present wonderful opportunities for you to build your babies ideas through sign. Every family has different routines. A family in a city would not have very similar routines to a family in a farm. But some common things are present. Eating, dressing up, going for a ride, and changing nappies are examples of activities that every parent does with their baby. Routines naturally get more complex as your baby gets older. Developing his eating habits or teaching him to play more games will lead to more complicated routines. Be aware of routines where you can incorporate baby sign as this would help your baby to learn faster and practice those that he already knows. He will find it easier to learn new signs if it is associated with something that he does regularly.
Experiences can be familiar or fresh. They can be things that are done regularly like going to the beach or visiting relatives. They can be new ones like going on a family holiday. You may have some experiences that are familiar to you but are fresh to your baby. These activities can give you a chance to watch and see what draws your baby’s attention. Is he fascinated by the decorations when visiting a new place? Is he drawn to the special clothes worn during cultural holidays? He might even be engrossed with the new faces that he sees.
These things may seem common for us adults but your baby is not ready to learn everything quite yet. It would take him a couple of years to fully learn about family traditions; learning something new each year. These traditions will become important to him as he gets older. Visiting family and friends and using positive parenting techniques will give your baby a chance to meet new people who will be important later on in his life. You are also giving these people an opportunity to get to know your baby better. Even minor experiences such as going to church or to the mall are still changes in your routine and are wonderful conversation-starters with your baby. He will let you know that these things are new and interesting. Take note of the new things that your baby is fascinated about and add them in your list of signs to learn.
Conversations are present in every family. Some could be usual ones like telling stories about their day while having dinner. Some may be unexpected such as worrying over a sick family member. These conversations let your baby see how people communicate with each other. If you use baby sign even while communicating with other people, there is a greater chance that your baby will develop this skill. Other family members also have to sign clearly to each other while in the presence of the baby and not just when they are directly talking to him. Interpreting your baby’s first signs may not always be easy as their co-ordination may not match their enthusiasm.
Being polite helps us make friends and belong to society. Oftentimes, the first social communication a baby learns is a greeting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a verbal “Good morning!” from your baby, even the smile that you get when you pass by his crib in the morning is a greeting in itself. Using similar greetings often makes them a part of a greeting routine. Exchanging greetings with other people will encourage your baby to do the same thing.
You can teach your baby later on to start his communications with a greeting. Saying goodbye is also a social routine that your baby will naturally learn. He will be able to wave “Bye-bye” even before learning any vocal greeting. Other types of polite conversations are appreciation and apology. They are both a lot like learning to greet people. Your baby can see or hear whenever you have these conversations with other people. He has to know the reasons why one particular social language is used so that he’ll know when to use them. Be aware of the social languages and routines that you use. Make sure to include signing as part of them so that your baby can practice this even at an early age. Signs for “good morning”, “thank you”, “I’m sorry”, and “goodbye” are useful baby sign language manners that you could teach your baby.
Creativity and Art:
Small babies love to look at stripes and patterns. There are researches saying that babies who have exercised using their eyes for information can develop a bit more attention and interest in visual things. You can build this up by reading to your baby and having interesting things for your baby to look at such as colourful books, pretty pillows and stuffed animals, and bright-coloured toys. As babies get older, they start enjoying making things on their own.
They will begin making shapes with play-dough or put together colourful blocks. These early leaning activities can help your baby express his feelings better. His drawings or creations may not be easy to recognise at first but eventually he will want to tell you what he created.
Babies learn about family values from how their parents treat them and other family members. The values of sharing, respect, and communication are basic family values you may want to surround your baby with. You can do this by teaching your baby the signs for those values so that he can use them more often. Your baby will learn more about values later on in his life but starting early is a good foundation for that.