How to teach your baby sign language

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Because your baby won’t learn basic short words until around nine months old, communicating with your little one can be difficult. The good news is that there are many studies and amazing success stories that show how teaching your baby sign language really helps you and your baby communicate with each other.

What is baby sign language?

Baby Sign Language is a collection of simple gestures that children can start learning and using well before their first birthday.

At what age can your child learn baby sign language?

Babies six to seven months old can remember a sign, experts say. At eight months, children can start signing single words and imitating gestures, and at 24 months, children can sign compound words and full sentences. Many preschools have also started teaching sign language to their students.

Benefits of teaching baby sign language

Teaching your baby the most important signs from the age of six months will improve the parent-child bond, increase IQ, and decrease crying attacks.

Did you know? In the late 1970s, some researchers realized that hearing babies of deaf parents could communicate their needs at a much earlier age than those whose parents heard.

Hungry babies stop crying when they see their bottles

Authorities suggest that 90% of the information we absorb is received through our vision. Think about when your baby cried when he was hungry, but as soon as a bottle appeared, the crying turned to anticipation and excitement.

Sign language for boys and girls

Usually, boys can have little or no spoken words until they are two years old. Signing will solve this frustrating communication problem and reduce the number of temper tantrums.

Teach signs for babies’ common needs

You don’t need to learn a whole new language. Use signs that are meaningful to you and your family, and you’ll soon learn to teach simple ideas babies can understand like milk, pain, affection, and sleep.

For example:

  • If your baby wants milk, he mimics the action of squeezing a bottle
  • If she is in pain, she brings her two index fingers together
  • If she wants to be cuddled, she opens her arms
  • If she is tired, she waves to a bed, putting her hands next to her face.

Make sure you move their hands as well

When you start out, you should make sure to sign near your eyes while your child is looking directly at you. Then imitate that sign again, waving your child’s hands in exactly the same way. Make sure this turns into a game and reward your child’s attempts to sign with you.

Remember that practice makes perfect

Children, like adults, learn by association and repetition. Be patient and on a day when you least expect it your child will reconnect and the experience will be immensely rewarding and fulfilling as you both begin to bond and communicate on a whole new level.


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