Teach Your Baby To Talk Baby Sign Language

One of the things that both hubby and I do with the kids is use baby sign language. We started with Tater when he was less than a year old. We also have been doing it months with the twins, and I’ll be honest, they aren’t catching on as quickly as Tater did. But we continue to sign because repetition is very important to their learning the signs!

When I say baby sign language, I’m not talking advanced sign language! I mean a few simple signs that help the kids be able to better communicate with us. Signs like more, all done, milk, please, thank you, mommy, daddy…you get the idea.

Now that Tater talks constantly and doesn’t stop even though we try to bribe him to be quiet talks and communicates like a little person, he isn’t interested in signing. He sometimes says “I want milk” and also does the sign for milk. Or he’ll say “I want more” and make the sign as well. I don’t even think he realizes he is doing it. And if we are signing to the babies he does, too. Yes, baby sign language is very cool and really helps your little ones communicate their wants and needs.

Baby Sign Language Basics

Introducing Sign Language And A Few Basic Signs
Baby sign language is a way of teaching your baby to communicate by way of special hand gestures. Based on ASL (American Sign Language), it is a simplified version for babies and children. Baby Sign Language is fun, free and it really works! You can start to sign from birth. Read on to find out more, and for a few basic starter signs…

How To Start
You can teach your baby to talk...not with his voice but with his hands! Baby sign language is both easy and fun to teach. And babies pick up on it quickly! It’s best to begin with signs you can use on a daily basis, such as Mommy, Daddy, Milk and More. More is (probably not surprisingly) often the first sign a baby learns. Signs that represent something exciting to your baby will be easier to learn – begin with these starter signs then you can build up your repertoire to include other objects, ideas and emotions.

How To Sign
You need to make the sign every time you say the relevant 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. Be sure to sign when your baby is alert and not fussing, using an object which is exciting to him, such as Milk or Mommy. 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.

Be Patient
Don’t expect too much too soon. Your baby is unlikely to be signing for more milk if he is only 4 months old and you’ve been signing to him for a week! Research by Dr. Joseph Garcia, one of the founders of Baby Sign Language, found that a typical baby who starts learning signs at seven months old needs about two months of repetition and exposure to a sign to start using it.

Basic Starter Signs:
MOMMY

You can teach your baby to talk...not with his voice but with his hands! Baby sign language is both easy and fun to teach. And babies pick up on it quickly!

To sign Mommy extend and spread apart your fingers. With your pinkie facing forward, tap your thumb on your chin. This is the sign for Mommy.

DADDY

You can teach your baby to talk...not with his voice but with his hands! Baby sign language is both easy and fun to teach. And babies pick up on it quickly!

To sign Daddy, extend and spread out your five fingers on your strong hand. Tap your hand on your forehead. Done right you will look like a turkey.

MILK
The sign for Milk is a lot like milking a cow, but without the vertical motion – you are just squeezing the udder. Take both hands, make them into a fist, relax, and repeat. You will notice most babies have trouble moving their fingers together this way, but any kind of repeated squeezing and relaxing of the hand is likely Milk.

MORE
To do the sign for More, flatten out your hands then bring your thumbs under to make an O shape. Then, bring your hands together and separate them repeatedly. Baby will often simplify More by clapping their fists together. As they get older and more proficient you may want to encourage the more correct sign of flattening out their hands and creating the O shape with their thumbs as a fun way to help them develop fine motor skills.

Thanks Misty at BabySignLanguage.com for providing me with this information and some easy to use baby sign language signs to start with!

Do you use baby sign language with your children? What are the signs you use most often? Our kids use milk and more the most often.