|Sign for "I love you"|
Little ones find signing easy and fun. There are lots of easy-to-use websites available that are geared to teaching young children to sign. You can also check out books and DVDs at the library. Try these websites: Baby Sign Language and Signing Time
Many of these beginning signs tend to look like the concept they represent (baby, eat, drink, sleep, book) and so they evoke a mental image of the word you are trying to teach. Starting with familiar words (mommy, daddy, yes, no, stop, go, finish) will also help make the connection between the words and their signs.
At this age, preschoolers are learning to recognize and write the letters of the alphabet. They are also learning to spell their names. Many of the sign language letters resemble the shape of the corresponding written letter, which again will aid in making that connection between the sign and the concept it represents. Children love to learn how to fingerspell their names, so this is a great way to have them practice what they're learning.
Here is a video clip from the Nonna and Me ABCs DVD that demonstrates how to sign the alphabet. This will help you and your child to form the letters.
One of the most important benefits of teaching preschoolers to sign is this: Signing encourages communication. Young children are more comfortable using gestures rather than words. Children with difficulty communicating verbally often act out by hitting or crying because they are frustrated. Sign language gives these children another option to express their feelings. So be sure to teach your child the signs for happy, sad, mad...and don't forget the sign for sorry!