sick baby

How The Baby Signs® Program Can Help Your Little One Through Cold and Flu Season

sick baby

As the days grow colder and the nights get longer, so does the prevalence of those unwelcome winter visitors – colds and flu. While these illnesses can be frustrating for anyone, they can be particularly challenging for our youngest and most vulnerable – our infants. For parents of young babies, this time of year can be particularly worrisome, as our little ones are more susceptible to these illnesses and often struggle to communicate their discomfort. One of the most frustrating aspects of caring for a sick infant is that they often lack the ability to clearly express their needs and discomforts. This can lead to increased frustration for both the baby and the caregiver, making it difficult to provide the best possible care.

However, there is a simple and effective tool that can help make this season a little less stressful for both parents and babies: Baby Signs®. Using basic sign language can be a game-changer during cold and flu season. By teaching your baby a few simple signs, you can bridge the communication gap and make it easier to understand their needs and provide the appropriate care.

How using the Baby Signs® Program Can Help During Cold and Flu Season

The benefits of incorporating basic sign language into your daily interactions with your infant are numerous, especially during cold and flu season:

Reduced Frustration and Crying: When babies can’t communicate their needs verbally, they often resort to crying, which can be frustrating for both them and their caregivers. Using signs can help reduce this frustration by allowing babies to express their discomfort more clearly.

Improved Communication of Symptoms: Sign language can help babies communicate specific symptoms, such as “hurt” for a sore throat, “hot” for a fever, or “drink” when thirsty. This can help parents identify and address their child’s needs more effectively.

Enhanced Emotional Regulation: Signs can also help babies regulate their emotions, as they can use signs to express feelings like sadness or fear. This can help parents provide comfort and support during a time of sickness.

Enhanced Communication: Baby Signs® empowers your infant to communicate their needs and discomforts, reducing frustration for both them and you. They can sign for basic needs like “more,” “milk,” or “blanket,” allowing you to respond promptly and effectively.

Strengthened Bond: Incorporating Baby Signs® into your daily routine fosters a deeper connection between you and your infant. As you communicate through basic signs, you’re building trust and creating a lasting bond.

Early Language Development: Baby Signs® serves as a stepping stone for future language development. By associating signs with spoken words, you’re laying the foundation for their verbal communication skills.

Health and Medical Signs

Essential Signs for Cold and Flu Season

During cold and flu season, specific signs can be particularly helpful:

“Sick” or “Hurt“: This sign can help you understand if your toddler is feeling unwell, prompting you to check for symptoms and provide extra care.

“Water” or “Drink”: Keeping your baby hydrated is crucial during illness. This sign can help ensure they’re getting enough fluids.

“Tired” or “Sleep”: Recognizing these signs can help you establish a restful sleep routine, aiding in their recovery.

“Hot” or “Cold”: These signs can indicate a fever.

“Wash”: This sign can encourage your toddler to wash their hands and face, promoting hygiene and preventing the spread of germs.

“Help”, “Doctor” or “Medicine”: These signs can help your little one know what to expect during a visit to the doctor.


Introducing the Baby Signs® Program

The Baby Signs® Program is a comprehensive and easy-to-follow program that teaches parents and caregivers how to incorporate basic sign language into their daily routines. The program includes a variety of resources, such as videos, books, music, posters, and classes to help parents and caregivers learn and practice the signs.

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips for successfully introducing sign language to your infant:

Start Early: The ideal time to start teaching baby signs is between 6 and 9 months of age. However, it is never too late to start.

Be Consistent: Use the signs consistently throughout the day to help your baby make connections between the sign and the meaning.

Make it Fun: Keep the learning process fun and engaging by incorporating signing into playtime, songs, and other activities.

Be Patient: Every baby learns at their own pace. Be patient and encouraging, and don’t get discouraged if your baby doesn’t pick up the signs right away.

Baby Signs® can be a valuable tool for communicating with your infant throughout the year, but its benefits are particularly evident during cold and flu season. By bridging the communication gap, you can provide better care, reduce frustration, and strengthen your bond with your little one. We encourage you to start now to teach these simple signs that will help your baby navigate the sniffles and beyond.

Additional Resources

Learn the American Sign Language (ASL) signs for Hot, Cold and Hurt.