How to teach your baby sign language

Can baby sign language help you communicate better with your tot? According to experts, the answer is yes! We take a look…

 Teaching your baby sign language can help you better communicate with your tot.

Because your baby won’t learn basic short words until after about nine months old, communicating with your tot can be difficult. The good news is that there are numerous studies and amazing success stories that show how teaching your baby sign language really does help 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 begin learning and using well before their first birthday.

At what age can your child learn baby sign language?

Babies as young as six to seven months old can remember a sign, according to experts. By eight months, children can begin to sign single words and imitate gestures, and by 24 months, children can sign compound words and full sentences. Many preschools have also begun to teach sign language to their students.

Benefits of teaching baby sign language

If you teach your baby the most important signs from as early as six months old, you will improve parent-child bonding, increase IQ and lessen crying tantrums.

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

Hungry babies stop crying when they see their bottle

Authorities suggest that 90% of the information we absorb is received by means of our vision. Think back to when your baby would cry when hungry, yet as soon as a bottle appeared, crying turned to anticipation and excitement.

Sign language for boys and girls

Generally, boys may have few or even no spoken words until they’re two. Signing will ease this frustrating communication problem and reduce the number of temper tantrums.

Teach signs for common baby needs

You don’t have to learn a whole new language. Make use of signs that make sense to you and your family, and you’ll soon learn how to teach simple ideas that babies can understand like milk, pain, affection, and sleep.

For example:

  • If your baby wants milk, she mimics the action of squeezing a bottle
  • If she is in pain, she pushes her two index fingers together
  • If she wants to be cuddled, she opens her arms
  • If she is tired, she makes the sign for a bed by resting her hands beside her face.

Make sure you move their hands as well

When you first start you will need to make sure you sign close to your eyes as your child looks directly towards you. Then mimic this sign again, motioning your child’s hands in exactly the same way. Make sure it’s turned into a game and reward your child’s attempts to sign with you.

Remember that practice makes perfect

Children, as with adults, learn through association and repetition. Be patient and one day when you’re least expecting it, your child will sign back and the experience will be immensely gratifying and rewarding as you both start to bond and communicate on a whole new level.