Being a mom has helped me- in a huge way- appreciate the joy that comes from planting a seed and then after great patience and care, enjoying the beautiful and unforgettable moment you see the fruits of your labor. Historically, I have not been a very patient person, but I am certainly growing in this respect. One big way I have noticed patience pay off is seeing my daughter use her sign language. My husband and I started signing to her at about 6 months old. We read in all the books that you can start as early as you'd like but that babies don't start signing until they are at least 9 months old. But we had fun doing it and she would notice what we were doing long before she first expressed an emotion or wish through sign language.
Right now, she has quite the little sign language vocabulary. She also has a fairly large verbal vocabulary. All the books I read spoke about how teaching babies sign language helps them with their spoken words. I'm not sure because I don't know about any other baby, but my baby is very verbal along with her signs so it just may be so. Right now she can express these words in sign language:
More Eat Mama Papa Thank you All done Light Book Fan Water
... and is currently in the process of taking three more on at a time.
It was so amazing to see her very suddenly start to sign. For many months we patiently waited for some sign that she understood us and had made the connection between the signs and the words. When it finally came together for her and she signed for the first time, we were so ecstatic! What an amazing thing- to see your child becoming more aware of her feelings and more awake to the world around her.
I wouldn't say there is any one way to go about the process of teaching your baby to sign. I would just start! The older they are the quicker they will pick up on it and the quicker you will see the sign come back to you. It's never "too late". A friend of mine started after her baby was one and in just a few days he signed "milk" back to her when he wanted milk.
It's a great way to communicate with your child and so fun to see them sign! My husband and I laugh every time she signs certain words because she signs them in such an adorable and quirky way. A few times, she has looked at me when she saw something new so I could show her the sign for it. Since that started happening, I bought myself a sign book so I can look them up and bring it with me everywhere I go so I could show her instantly.
I am so happy to have taken the time to learn this so we could teach this to our little one. I highly recommend baby signing to everyone!