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Sign Language for Babies!

Updated on November 5, 2014

Teaching your baby to Sign will help them when they begin to Talk.

Babies use many different signs and gestures as a natural part of learning to talk and communicate.

Encouraging your baby with more, like signs for 'milk', 'more', 'change nappy' or 'tired' will help your baby learn to communicate even faster, enrich your relationship, and take some of the stress out of child-rearing.

There are many books, classes, and videos that will help you teach your baby to sing and sign. The singing part helps them to remember the signing part, and vice versa.

If you're a new parent you definitely have to take a look at this Lens and learn how to help your little bundle of joy communicate through signing. Enjoy!!

Babies signing? When did this start happening?

Will dogs and cats be next? :-)

It may come as some surprise to all those people who think of signing with babies as being a new concept to find out that it's actually based upon more than 20 years of research by internationally respected academics. Their findings have laid the foundations for a revolution in the way that mothers (and fathers) communicate with their babies. There have been unexpected benefits too, like happier, less frustrated babies and a closer bond between parent and child.

In the late 1980s, Joseph Garcia, then a student at the University of Alaska, became fascinated with sign language. While there were no deaf people in his family, he thought that learning how to sign would be interesting and he began to study it seriously. Once he had a solid grasp of American Sign Language (ASL), Garcia made a number of friends in the deaf community. This resulted in an observation that changed his life, and the lives of many families to come.

What Mr. Garcia realized was that the hearing babies of his deaf friends were on their way to becoming sign language "experts" at around 9 months of age, yet the 9-month old babies of his hearing friends were not communicating much at all. The difference intrigued Garcia so much that he made it the subject of his Master's thesis.

During the last 20 years, Mr. Garcia was the principal investigator for 109 private research grants. Along with his revolutionary book about signing with babies he has developed teaching and training materials for youth-related projects in the health care industry. He was appointed to and served two years on the Alaska Governor's Committee on Employment of The Disabled and continues to be active in the Deaf community.

Practicing signing with baby at home strengthens the family bond while providing numerous developmental benefits to your infant.

Dr. Joseph Garcia literally wrote the book on it!

Dr. Joseph Garcia created the Sign with your Baby® program for engaging infants with American Sign Language (ASL) Baby Sign Language.

Many parents, teachers, daycare centers, child minders and more are researching and studying and implementing baby signing classes.

The benefits of Baby Singing.

They may shock you.

There are many benefits for a baby utilizing Baby Sign Language that it is hard for some enthusiasts to understand why more parents are not teaching their infants this particular form of communication.

Everyone has had moments in their lives when they could not communicate their needs in a way others could understand. The result is a level of frustration beyond compare. Babies are the same as adults in this regard.

Wanting something and being unable to explain what exactly is wanted frequently results in loud crying, utter frustration, and/or tantrums.

The first benefit of using Baby Sign Language is it gives your baby the ability to express his or her important needs and thoughts.

Some more benefits include;

Promoting the development of language skills

Reinforcing already developed skills

Reducing frustration at not being able to express needs

Increases speed of spatial reasoning development

Develops understanding of language for communication of emotions

Creates feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment!

May increase IQ

Increases creative thinking

Teaches a 2nd language that is formally and nationally recognized (ASL)

Reduces unexplainable emotional outbursts

Increases early literacy skills

Teaches baby how to start (and participate in) a conversation

There is no way to predict how quickly a child will learn and grow intellectually. Everyone develops at their own pace. Research shows that you can start teaching infants Sign Language from birth.

A beginners guide to helping your baby sign.

The first step in teaching sign language is to identify items, toys, activities or food items that the learner likes or might be interested in.

Be prepared to move into expressive gesturing early in the program- if the child can see that he can influence the person he is signing to, he may be more easily motivated.

Make eye contact.

Say the word as you make the sign slowly and clearly.

Start with the concrete and work to the abstract.

Make it part of your daily routine. Always sign in context or real life situations.

Once a sign is established, repeat it in many different situations.

Acknowledge the child with rewards for imitative responses.

Accept approximations. Pobodys Nerfect.

Be consistent. If you sign "happy," you must look happy, etc.

Encourage family members and caregiver to use the same sign for the same meaning.

Make it fun.

It is essential to remember that each child is unique. Work with them at their appropriate level while staying focused the whole time on that specific child's needs, desires, and potential abilities.

Dr. Garcia's studies found that hearing babies of deaf parents were able to communicate more easily and far earlier than babies of hearing parents.

ASL For Infants and toddlers - Fascinating.

Singing and Signing is popular too.

And a lot of fun.

Everyone knows nursery rhymes and action songs are great fun and that musical activities help stimulate language development. Sing and Sign combines the benefits of both music and baby signing by teaching a wide range of signs using traditional and specially written songs. What makes Sing and Sign special is that every sign used in song relates to those important first words of a baby's world! Pooping, bath time, hiding games, bedtime and more. You name it, there's a song about it, and the babies just love to hear them!

Leave some comments or Tips about baby Signing. - Thanks!

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    • ismeedee profile image


      6 years ago

      Love this lens! Since I learned sign language for my work with special needs children I found I naturally taught some basic signs to my baby boy (who is now 7). The best thing though was that he was able to communicate better even before he could actually speak, which made him more content.

    • arfrancis lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy M-F 

      6 years ago from Northamptonshire, UK

      @Lee2012: Hi, Thanks for checking out my lens. I am in the UK and my 2 girls both love Mr Tumble. I can't believe I haven't given him a mention! Would be great to see a lens on Makaton, I will keep an eye out. Brilliant cake by the way. We will be trying it out this weekend.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi found your lens thought the related pages link on my lens. Your lens has been a great read and very informative not sure if you are from the UK but we have a T.V character here called Mr Tumble and uses Makaton signing system throughout his show and itâs helped my little girl a great deal. My lens is how I made a Mr Tumble cake but now seeing your great lens I may but one together about Makaton.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      wonderful tips. thank you


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