cute-baby-in-hatI have just spent the last two weeks at home in Ireland visiting friends and family and got to catch up with lots of new baby’s that have been born.

These babies ranged in ages from 3-6 months and there were an equal split of boys and girls. Of these 6 children, cialis one mum had actively decided to try baby sign language from day one, cialis some decided to wait until their baby was at the best age to start baby sign and some had not made a decision as yet.

The one thing I noticed with all the parents of these babies is that, while they had not decided to do baby sign language just yet, all of them were using signing unknown to themselves.

For many years, I have spoken about how easy it is to introduce baby sign language using Auslan into your home as a lot of Auslan signs symbolise the action that you would do naturally.

Looking on at these parents it was fantastic to watch them use their hands to communicate with their babies, unbeknown to themselves. One mum moved her hand to the side of her face as and placed her face on it, each time it was time for bed. The sign for bed / sleep is this same action. Another mum was moving her hand to her mouth each time she was offering her baby a drink, the same action in baby sign language for drink.

If these mums are consistent with their signing, they could soon find that their babies could be returning these actions/gestures back to their parents.

However, as many parents have discovered, to help with your baby sign language success, it is important you balance practical signs with motivational signs.

Examples of practical signs would be eat, drink, sleep, change etc while practical signs are signs that motivate your baby to learn more – what they are interested in. These signs differ from baby to baby but examples include teddy bear, music, book, car, cat, dog etc.

An example of a motivational sign in action happened when I was at home also. A dad was telling his daughter how he was going out to town in the car and would be back soon. As he said car, he moved his hands like his was steering a wheel and made a “beep beep” sound.

As well as engaging his 4 month old daughter his two older boys (aged 3 and 5) loved this expression and were copying his actions. Again, this movement of his hands is the sign for car in baby sign language and an example of a motivational sign for some babies.

The thing with all these sign is that they are pretty universal gestures for bed, drink and car. These signs are iconic – the sign you do is symbolic of what it represents. Because a lot of Auslan signs are iconic, this helps when learning sign language as it makes the process a lot easier.

Next time you are with friends or family who have young babies or children, watch to see if you notice any universal signs in action.

It would be great to compile a list of universal signs that parents are using without knowing. How big would this list be? Would these parents convert to using signs if they knew they were already using signs in their daily life and what impact is it having on their babies?

Maybe with your help this is something we can research together. Let me know what you have noticed in relation to gestures and universal signs among your friends and family.