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Baby Sign Language

I didn’t teach B baby sign language. Now I’m wondering whether it is something I should try with our little girl that is on the way.
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I’ve seen my friends have great success with it! During my online “research” (really I only googled it a few times) I found out the signs to teach first are milk, more, eat, and all done and you can start as early as 4 months old. Along with all of the great reasons to use sign language with your baby I also read stories about parents that were concerned that their toddlers were relying on it too much and not replacing the signs with verbal words. To be honest, that is what makes me nervous!

~Babies who learn sign language have been shown to have a higher IQ.
~Babies who learn to sign show less frustration because the baby is able to communicate earlier.
~Babies who learn to sign may speak earlier.


~Toddler relying on signing instead of speaking (experts say they will replace signing with speaking just as they do crawling with walking)

~Do I have the consistency to implement this?

~How much is best to teach? Just the basics? Sign everything?

Looking at this list on paper, it looks like a no brainer. The pros seem to far outweigh the cons.
But I want to hear from you, moms who have experienced it or are thinking about it.

What are your experiences with baby sign language?
If you’ve already done it, what would you do differently next time?

Also, I found this Free Baby Sign Language Dictionary which seems like it would be helpful.


Friday 4th of December 2009

My daughter (now 4) and I also learned sign together through the Signing Time videos. I have told people it is the best thing I ever did. She was able to communicate with me before she could speak, and I truly believe that her advanced vocabulary now is due to the fact that she learned at such an early age that things have names, and about communicating. Once, she was in her crib, crying, and she signed "bear" and pointed - right to her bear who had fallen out of her crib. I gave her the bear back, and she calmed down. She pointed right to the bear, but would I have been looking for it if she hadn't told me what she was looking for? Right then and there I started thinking how wonderful this was, and I remember thinking, "why doesn't everyone do this?"As she learned to speak, the signing just filtered out, although a few stuck with her - we always use the sign for "silly" and sometimes she signs "game" when she tells me she wants to play a game. Sometimes she asks me the sign for something again.It truly is a great thing - and I think you'll be able to keep up with it once you see how great it is - and it really doesn't take that much effort. Good luck!


Wednesday 2nd of December 2009

I used sign language with my older two children (now 4 and 2) and am just starting with my six month old. It is a little frustrating at first as they are just watching you and not responding back, but they are very much paying attention and will reward your efforts soon. I did start with just the basics, like eat, more, all done, milk, and help. Animals are some other easy signs. Really baby signs can be anything that makes sense to you and your baby to stand for what you are trying to communicate. Your baby may not even do the sign exactly how you do it, but it will be close enough that you will understand and that is all that matters.

I used the book, Baby Signs and the board books by the same author. It was so fun to see my son sit with his board books when he was just around a year and "read" the book to himself doing the signs on each page.

My son was talking very early and would do both the signs and say the words at first and then eventually just dropped off the signs. My daughter that is now two talked a little later than my son did (she was more focused on developing her large motor skills to keep up with big brother) so it was awesome to be able to use some signs with her to help communicate before she really learned to use her words.

I say go for it and don't worry about how much or how little you do. Just do what works for you and your family!!! :)


Monday 30th of November 2009

Hi. I just found your blog and thought you might appreciate more input :).

I signed with both of my children. I started with my first when she was about 6 months old but it took her some time to pick it up and I slacked off. So she really only learned "more" and "all done" until she was 12 months. At that point it was obvious that she was behind in her language development so I started signing more words with her. We used a community program to get started but eventually got the hang of it and just looked up words ourselves.

By the time she was two, she was signing over 500 words and was signing 3 to 5 word sentences. She didn't start speaking until age 2, but this was entirely due to a delay in her motor development, not due to signing. In fact, her speech therapist has told me that the signing helped her develop age appropriate communication skills (other than articulation). Usually children with my daughter's problems (a physical inability to form sounds) end up in special ed for a while to catch up.

I also signed with my 2nd child (we used no program this time, just signed the words as we talked) starting at about 10 months. He picked up about 50 or so before he started speaking and he dropped the signing. But he will still sign when he wants to emphasize what he is saying.

All in all, it is a good way to understand your child long before they can talk to you. And it is so awe-inspiring when they start combining two words to describe something new or using an known word appropriately for a new situation. You get a glimpse into how their mind works!


Tuesday 24th of November 2009

I forgot to add, we also learned the sign for "help", which helped a lot, lol. ;) And after a while, they started signing in sentences, like, "more milk please" and the like. They learned to speak most of their signed words first, and then used them simultaneously for a while before letting the signs go.


Tuesday 24th of November 2009

I signed with both my kids, starting around 9 months, and they really got it around 11 months. We used the following--more, milk, please, thank you, eat, and all done. My main goal was getting them to communicate without whining and crying for what they wanted. And it took the guess work out of communicating with them. Plus, they just looked too cute signing. Both of mine were very early talkers, with huge vocabularies. I don't know if it was the signing, but I definitely recomend it to all moms with babies.