Sunday, November 21, 2010

What is Baby Sign Language?

Misty from Baby Sign Language contacted me a while back asking if I'd be interested in a guest post to help my readers learn a little more about baby sign language.  I was intrigued!  I had heard so many moms when I had my daughter in 2008 talk about doing baby sign language, they were taking different classes at the EYC and reading different books to help their children communicate. I thought it sounded interesting but never actually looked into it.  I had a few sign language books at home that I got in a box of books at a garage sale and Hannah enjoyed looking though them but never went any further than that.

Now that Everett is here and Hannah has been showing an interest in learning different signs, I jumped at the opportunity to have Misty explain to me and my readers what Baby sign language is and give you some links to their site.  They've got some great resources including flash cards, wall charts, etc.  Check it out if your even a little interested in sign language

What Baby Sign Language Is

Baby sign language is a way of teaching your pre-verbal child to communicate by using hand gestures. Based on ASL (American Sign Language), it is a simplified version for babies and young children. American Sign Language For Babies  is fun, it’s free and, best of all, it really works! You can start to teach baby sign language from birth – in fact, the sooner you start signing with your baby, the sooner she will begin to communicate back to you.

How To Start
It’s best to begin with signs you can use on a daily basis, such as Mommy, Daddy, Milk and More – instructions for these are below. More is (not surprisingly) often the first sign a baby learns to use! Signs that represent something exciting to your baby will be easier for her to learn – begin with these starter signs then build up your range of signs to include other objects, ideas and emotions.

How To Sign
Make the sign every time you say the word to your baby. Say the word that goes with the sign clearly, with good eye contact, while pointing to the thing or person you are describing. Sign when your baby is alert, using an object which is interesting to him, such as Milk or Mummy. Practice the signs beforehand so you feel confident and clear about what you are doing. It’s important to repeat the sign as often as possible – make the sign and say the word every time you do an action or use an object. Once you get started you should be Baby Signing  regularly throughout the day.

Be Patient
Don’t expect too much too soon. Your baby is unlikely to be signing More Milk if she is only 4 months old and you’ve been signing to her for under a week! Research by Dr. Joseph Garcia, one of the founders of baby sign language, says that a baby who starts learning baby signing at seven months old needs around two months of repetition and exposure to a sign to start using it.

Signs To Get You Started

  • MOMMY: To make the sign for  Mommy, extend and spread your fingers apart on your right hand. With your little finger facing forwards, tap your thumb on your chin.

  • DADDY: To make the sign for Daddy, extend and spread out the fingers on your right hand, then tap your hand on your forehead with your thumb. This is similar to the sign for Mommy but done higher up the head.

  • MILK: The sign for Milk  is a lot like the action of milking a cow without the up and down motion. Just pretend you are just squeezing the cow’s udder. Make both hands into a fist, relax and repeat. Milk.
  • MORE: To make the sign for More, make an O shape with each hand by meeting your fingers and thumbs. Bring your hands together and separate them a few times.


  1. hi! I used sign language for my eldest when she was almost 1 and am starting now with my second baby!It's fun but a bit challenging at first.
    I also watch Signing Time from youtube--they really helped me a lot with sign language.

    have a great day!

  2. I taught (and still teaching) basic signs to both kids. It funny watching Declan use them again now that Scarlet has started.