Friday, January 30, 2009

Focus on sign language: Sleep

This sign language post is devoted to the sign for "sleep/tired/bed." This can be a good sign to teach your preemie so that he/she can tell you when he/she is ready for bed or tired. Once they understand the sign, it is also a useful tool to help your preemie transition to bedtime.Go here for an explanation and pictures on how to do the sign.

For beginning tips on introducing sign language to your preemie, click here.

How to incorporate the sign:

  • Start introducing the sleep sign before naps and bedtime. You can say “time to go to sleep” and then use the sign. Make sure that once you make the sign, you put your preemie into bed. If you use a different name for sleep or bed than use that word in order to help your preemie understand.
  • When you see your preemie looking tired, ask him/her “do you want to go to sleep?” and then make the sign.
  • If you see your preemie making the sign for sleep, honor his/her request and put your preemie to bed. If it’s during a non-nap or bedtime that is okay. Sometimes your little one may want to experiment with signs and the power it gives him/her to communicate. Even if he/she only goes down for a minute, the important lesson is that he/she learns what the sign means.

General signing tip: Create a chart of the signs that you have taught your preemie so that you (and everyone else) can easily tell what signs your preemie knows and/or is working on.

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