We are very interested in using baby sign language to start communicating with our son. I have two questions regarding this. First, does anyone have first hand experience using baby sign? Second, at what age should we start using baby sign? Any other tips are also appreciated!

asked 08 Jan '10, 21:19

Matthew%20Jones's gravatar image

Matthew Jones
accept rate: 18%

edited 08 Jan '10, 22:41

Emi's gravatar image


+1 Nice question

(08 Jan '10, 22:40) Emi

See also http://moms4mom.com/questions/263/infant-sign-language

(11 Jan '10, 02:09) Phil

Our daughter Adi is 19.5 months and is a signing pro! She now learns new signs right away and we've lost count of how many she knows, but it's around 150!

Before we moved from California, I was walking on the beach with her (she was 14 or 15 months) and she did the sign for dog. I hadn't seen any dogs, but I turned around and there about 30 yards away was a guy with a little puppy on a leash. I was surprised she could even see that far! It was so cool that she could tell me something that I didn't know.

We started with more, milk and eat when she was about 7 or 8 months and added new signs as we learned them ourselves. I don't think there's anything wrong with starting earlier. We actually felt that we were getting started late with it.

The best thing we did was get the Baby Signing Time 4 DVD set. Her grandparents gave her that for her 1st birthday. We don't let her watch TV, but this was the one exception. Rachel writes songs specifically designed to teach kids and babies to sign. She makes it as easy as learning the motions to a song! Watching those videos helped us learn the signs also. It was fun to see Adi learn new signs from the videos that we hadn't even started using yet.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you'll need to sign with your baby for a long time before they really start to get it. Don't give up! She did maybe half a dozen signs and then it finally clicked for her when she was about 15 months. Now she's starting to get a few verbal words, but having the ability to communicate with her and understand what she's trying to say is incredible.

She does throw the occasional tantrum, but we're able to tell her "we can't understand you when you're crying. Please tell us what you want." She normally calms down and will let us know what she wants.

All babies sign. If you teach them sign language, then you'll understand what they're trying to say. If not, they'll just be pointing and grunting and waiving their arms and you'll be trying to guess what they mean.

Back in December (she was 18 months) we left her with a babysitter to attend my company's Christmas party. When we went to pick her up, she was able to tell us some of the things they did while we were gone! Pretty amazing for an 18 month old!

Signing with our daughter has also helped us realize how much verbal communication she understands. Now we mostly tell her things or ask her questions verbally and she replies with signs. If she hadn't had a way to communicate back to us I wouldn't have guessed how much of what we say that she knows and understands.

I almost feel sorry for parents who don't sign with their babies. They're missing out on so much of what's going on in those little minds!


answered 08 Jan '10, 23:04

Dennis%20Palmer's gravatar image

Dennis Palmer
accept rate: 25%

You may find answers posted by Tammy Igritz and Sabrina to the question Looking for a good online sign language resource posted by Mary to be helpful and informative.


answered 08 Jan '10, 22:39

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

We have been showing our daughter a few signs (Mommy, Daddy, and milk, thus far) off and on since about 3 1/2 months. I've heard (but this is purely anecdotal) that you can start anywhere from 5 months to a year old for "best results" but starting early can't hurt.


answered 08 Jan '10, 22:34

Fun2Dream's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

I just started baby sign language courses with my 5 month old son last week. The instructor, of course, said "every child is different", but she has seen a baby do a sign as early as 6 1/2 months! The course website says if you start around 5 months old, you can expect to see some semblance of a sign at around 8 months old, but of course, no guarantees.

I have only been signing "mommy", "daddy", "food", and "milk" so far, but I find my son really examines my hands when I do them, as though he's paying close attention to what I'm saying- it's a great way to be both verbal AND visual while your child is learning about the world around him.

The prospect of communicating with your child before he/she is able to speak is what I find really cool.


answered 09 Jan '10, 16:46

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accept rate: 13%

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Asked: 08 Jan '10, 21:19

Seen: 2,956 times

Last updated: 09 Jan '10, 16:46