November 24, 2010

Guest Post: Baby Sign Language

I fell like a jerk-face. I've had this guest post in my box forever waiting to be posted. And we all know how mommy life gets super busy and I have the worst memory ever and (insert every excuse I can think of here). 

Misty Weaver, the Chief Editor of Baby Sign Language.com was so nice to write a guest post for me on  teaching your baby sign langage; when to start, how to start, why you'd want to teach them and some simple signs you can get started with. Baby Sign Language.com is a great resource for teaching your baby and also learning some signs yourself.

I'm a major fan of teaching babies sign language. My mom taught my little brothers and sister some baby sign language when they were little and it was so helpful in many situations. Lots of times babies know how to communicate what they want, they just can't say the words yet. We started with simple signs like "more" and "milk" with the triplets. These were the first two signs I started working on with the dudes. They just kind of look at me right now but eventually they'll get it. 

Here's Misty's article on all the basics!

Getting Started With Baby Sign Language:  When and How to Start!


Trust me:  The hardest part of teaching Baby Sign Language to your baby is just getting started, so don’t feel intimidated or overwhelmed!  Once you get rolling, it will come naturally to you, and it will actually be fun.


Most moms choose to start teaching their babies sign language when their babies are about six months old.  However, there is certainly no harm in starting earlier, as long as you don’t have unreasonable expectations as to your baby’s performance!  And if your baby is older than six months, it is never too late to start.  Toddlers love to sign, and are quick learners!

The best advice one can give is this:  start slowly.  Don’t overwhelm your baby, and more importantly, don’t freak yourself out!  Start with just one or two signs, and just see how it goes!  (If your baby is older, you might want to start with three or four, but the motto is the same:  slow and steady wins!)

You can find out how to sign for just about anything online.  There are several websites devoted to American Sign Language (the language baby signs are built on).  Just Google “ASL sign for cookie” and you’ll find the sign for cookie.  Most signs your baby will need are available for free, with video, at


Popular signs to start with include:  mommy, daddy, milk, diaper, and more.  If you have a dog or a cat, these are good words to teach as well!  But it’s really up to you to teach whatever signs you think your baby needs! 



To introduce the sign for milk, simply make the sign for milk every time you say the word.  When you are getting ready to nurse, or to give your baby a bottle, simply say, “Do you need some milk?” and when you say milk, sign milk! 

To make the sign for milk, simply pretend to milk a cow with your right hand.  If milking a cow is not your forte, watch this short video for a demonstration: Baby Sign Language Dictionary for milk. Anyone else who gives your baby milk can help teach the sign too.  When daddy feeds your little one, he too can sign for milk.  The same goes for grandparents and older siblings.  Just be sure to give your baby some milk after signing for it!  If you sign out of context, it could confuse the little bugger!


And remember to always sign when you say the word, and to always say the word when you sign!


It might be months before your baby actually makes the sign for milk, but long before she starts to sign, she will begin to link the gesture with the word with the actual milk, and that is real progress.  When he squeals with delight and waves his little arms frantically, you will know that he understands the sign.


You can introduce other signs in the same manner, with repetition and consistency.  There really is no magic trick to it.  While there are plenty of tools out there that can help: Baby Sign Language classes, videos, and books, all you really need are your hands and a little patience.  And when your baby does sign for the first time, it will be so worth it!  I promise. 



I again want to thank Misty for writing this awesome post for me. I hope you all go to the website and at least watch some of the videos with the signs to see just how easy it is. You don't have to teach your kids the whole alphabet but a few signs really do come in handy!


You can also find babysignlanguage.com on Facebook! Go "like" them to show your support :)


1 comment:

  1. I don't know if it is just me but the links aren't working? I just started teaching sign language to Addison.

    ReplyDelete

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