it is helpful to show your baby how to make a sign by gently guiding her hands.
This is called hand over hand signing. Please only do this if you baby enjoys
the help. Your baby may not like having her hands manipulated. If you baby
shows any displeasure then you should immediately stop. Your baby will learn to
sign even if you do not help her to sign in this way.
Ask for your baby to sign
You can encourage your baby to sign with you by asking her to "show me with
hands" while at the same time gently tapping her hands. You can also play a
game where a favorite toy is placed out of reach and then you make the sign and
bring the toy to your baby. You can then place the toy out of reach and ask
your baby to make the sign. Always help your baby by making the sign for her if
she has not made the sign within a short period of time or if she becomes
Always sign the correct sign
Babies are not likely to reproduce any given sign perfectly when they first
begin to sign in just the same way that babies do not always pronounce words
correctly once they begin to speak. However, you should continue to offer the
correct sign. It is likely that your baby believes that she is making the same
hand movements as you are even if she is not. If you change your sign to match
your baby's sign then she is likely to become confused as to the correct sign
A case in point is with Jessica and her grandfather. One day Jessica's
grandfather came to visit and saw Jessica making the sign for "bear" before she
picked up her favorite bear.
Thrilled with Jessica's ability to communicate through signing, Grandpa John
signed back to Jessica with the exact hand movements that Jessica had used.
Jessica became upset and repeatedly signed back the same modified version of
the sign for bear.
Finally, Jessica grabbed her grandfather's hand and dragged him to her
mother. She literally danced around the room when Grandpa John finally signed
the correct version of the sign.