Intro To Baby Sign Language

Guest Blog by Misty Weaver

Baby sign language is a cool new way to communicate with your pre-verbal child. Baby signing can help is great fun for the whole family, and is easy to teach and learn. Research has shown that babies who learn baby sign language often learn to speak earlier and have fewer tantrums. It has to be worth giving it a go! When you’re starting out with baby sign language, it’s best to begin with signs you and your baby can practice daily. Here are the four main steps involved when Teaching Baby Sign Language.

Step 1: Learn Some Basic Signs Yourself
Popular starter signs include Mommy, Daddy and Milk. Although the signs themselves are easy to master it’s a good idea to practice them yourself a few times before signing to your baby. Either attend a baby signing class or look up some free online resources to help you learn your first signs. Limit yourself to only four or five to begin with – you can add more signs when you and baby are more confident.

Once you have learned a sign, make this sign every time you say that word to your baby. Say the word clearly, with good eye contact, while signing and pointing to the thing or person you are describing. Sign when your baby is alert, using something which is really exciting to her.

Step 2: Sign With Your Baby Every Day – Yes, Every Day!
Repetition is the key to Sign Language For Babies. Make the sign and say the word every time you do an action or use an object. This may feel strange at first but with practice it will become second-nature. Babies learn through repetition. It can take about two months of exposure for babies over six months to learn a sign and be ready to use it themselves. Try signing when you’re shopping, playing and feeding – whenever you get the chance. Be creative.

Step 3: Be Patient With Your Baby (And Yourself)
When you begin to sign with your baby don’t expect too much too soon. Have fun and enjoy the process. Make teaching Sign Language For Babies a part of your day but don’t be too results-focused. Be patient with yourself too – if you forget to sign for a day that’s OK. Just start again the next day. Remember, it can take at least two months of exposure to, and repetition of, a sign for a baby to learn it properly. Give yourself and your baby plenty of time.

Step 4: Cheer Your Baby On!
When your baby starts to sign encourage her efforts enthusiastically. Don’t worry too much if she hasn’t got the sign quite ‘right’ – the important thing is she’s starting to communicate with you by signing and that’s a big step. Give lots of praise. Giving attention and eye-contact are great ways to show her you are really impressed with her efforts. When you and your baby are ready you can move on to another group of signs. Keep up the good work!

About  Misty Weaver

Misty Weaver knows that baby sign language works because she has taught it to her own toddler. And she will get to do it all over again soon, as she is now pregnant with twins! Misty is the editor-in-chief at Sign Language For Babies, the leading online resource for all things Baby Sign Language: instructional videos, sign language dictionary, free flash cards, and much more!

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Comments

  1. Shannon Maida says:

    My daughter is now 2 1/2 and she still infuses signing with her gigantic word base, especially when she is in the midst of her famous 3 minute tantrums. Funny, yes, but super helpful for working to quickly diffuse the situation. From the age of 6 weeks (I know that some will find that too young, but it worked with us!) we started signing with her and by 6 months she was already effectively communicating with us. As my husband and I start talking about another child, I know for a fact that I will absolutely teach signing to our new addition.

  2. Shannon Maida says:

    BTW…funny story time. I was super ambitious and tried to teach my daughter how to say “Please, baby” when asking for her baby doll. Her sign for please is now the baby sign (like you are rocking an infant). Even tonight, she was signing please as the baby sign. So, with step 4 I am in total agreement!

  3. Adore your blog! We should work together, I run a maternity fashion related blog, get in touch if you want to collab? Jade x

  4. Kimberly Smith says:

    My son had a delay in speech development that caused him alot of frustration. A few months past his 2nd birthday I began introducing baby signing films and books and he immediately took to them. Now he could express wants or needs. He learned to sign words some pretty detailed, large words long before he learned to speak them. Learning the correlation between signing and words made learning to read easier too. He’s five now and talking nonstop but we still sign occasionally. I would suggest every parent teach their little ones to sign.