Baby Sign Language – What is it and How Can Mommy Learn to Sign With Her Infant (or Toddler)?

Baby Sign Language

Baby Sign Language Can Help You to Communicate With Your Child

Baby sign language for babies is a transition method that allows you to use gestures to illustrate common words (eat, finish, sleep etc.). The use of the signs can be tremendously helpful for parents who wish to facilitate communication with their baby from 6 months to 24 months, before he or she speaks and at the beginning of speech learning.

During this period, your infant understands several words, but he is not able to utter them and sometimes this can be frustrating. However, he is already able to communicate with gestures. For example, he shows his finger or extends his arms. Learning new signs can help you and your baby express your needs more efficiently.

However, even though the signs may be useful for helping communication in the beginning, their learning is not essential.

At What Age Can You Teach Your Baby Sign Language?

It is possible to teach your baby the signs starting from the age of 6 months. He should be able to start using them by the age of 10 months. Since the baby sign language is poised to make communication easier, it is recommended to first teach him the words of his everyday life: “eat”, “mommy”, “milk”, etc. It is also important to say the word at the same time as you show the sign it stands for, because the sign must not be replaced by words.

Teaching your baby the signs can also help you to adopt better communication skills. When we make the sign, it encourages us to wait for the child to look at us to talk to him, to meet his expectations or to speak less quickly.

When you teach your baby sign language to communicate with him, try not to insist on the fact that he should repeat your actions perfectly. The important thing is to understand what he wants to say and to continue to set an example by doing the right thing. However, take it back if you notice, for example, that he makes the sign of the dog when he sees a cat!

Can Baby Sign Language Delay Speech?

Research demonstrates that learning signs does not interfere with speech development. Your infant will give up on the signs by himself when it will be easier for him to speak.

Good To Know

It is advisable to avoid creating your own signs. This will enable your infant to be understood outside his family. There are several signs directories that vary from one language, country, and region to another. In Quebec, the Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) remains the main reference. The LSQ Dictionary allows you to learn several signs. It is offered free of charge on the website of The Foundation of the Deaf of Quebec.

There are also some companies specialized in teaching signs adapted to the communication needs of babies. Most are inspired by the LSQ. They often offer workshops, DVDs, illustrated materials, applications, etc. Parents who are interested in this activity can choose what suits them the best.

Four Basic Signs

Here are some everyday words and the signs that represent them.

baby signs

To Remember

  • You can teach your baby signs starting from 6 months. He will usually start using them around 10 months.
  • The sign enables the child who does not speak yet to express his needs, but they are not essential.
  • Always utter the word when you make the sign.

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