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Teach My Baby Sign Language!

Updated on March 5, 2011

Baby Sign Language Lets Your Baby "Speak" to You Before He/She Can Talk

Should I Teach My Baby Sign Language?  What Are The Benefits? When Should I Start?

These are all great questions!

This lens is designed to answer some of those questions and to give you some basic signs so you can decide whether Baby Signs are right for you and your family.

Signing can be very easily integrated into your daily routine - it is not difficult to do.  The main thing is committing yourself to the idea of signing, and doing it consistently as you talk to your baby.

CC photo credit: traveling.lunas

Should I Teach My Baby Signs?
Should I Teach My Baby Signs?

Should I Teach My Baby Sign Language?

The decision was pretty easy for our family because our son was a VERY frustrated baby. We felt like we were constantly jumping through hoops. This was a pretty common conversation in our house:

You: "Is this what you want?"

Baby: more screaming, head shaking if you're lucky.

You: "No? Okay, okay, you're okay. How about this?"

Baby: Face turning red, begins an all-out meltdown.

You: "No?? Okay, okay, you're just fine. How about THIS?!"

Sound familiar?

By teaching your baby some simple signs, you are giving him or her the tools to use to communicate with you before they are ready to do so verbally.

The Benefits of Signing

Studies show that babies who learn to sign:

1. are less frustrated.

2. have larger vocabularies when they do begin to speak verbally.

3. speak sooner than their non-signing counterparts.

PLUS, if you're out somewhere where there is a TON of background noise, you can use your signs to communicate with each other. Heck, my husband and I still occasionally sign to each other when the baby is sleeping on us and we're trying to communicate from opposite ends of the house. =)

Watch a mom and her baby signing

When Should I Begin To To Teach My Baby Sign Language?

"Signs" of Readiness

Can your baby wave "hello" to you? This is a pretty good indication that he or she is ready to sign back to you.

HOWEVER, there is nothing to stop you from doing some basic signs from the time that your baby is born. Of course at that point it will be more for your benefit than theirs, by getting you into the habit of signing.

This is especially helpful in getting older children, family members and care providers on board with the signs. Consistency is key when doing baby signs, and you'll want the people who have contact with your baby to know how to communicate with your baby.

Okay, So Where Do I Begin?

Ah, here's the fun part!

Pick a few signs that you want to start out with - preferably the more relevant ones to your baby. For example:

1. nurse (or bottle)

2. drink

3. eat

4. All Done

5. more

When you ask your baby if he or she wants to nurse, you would ask the question and do the sign simultaneously. In the case of nursing, you would tug on the front of your shirt and say "nurse".

You will probably find that your precious little one will have their own variations of the signs. This is PERFECTLY okay - as long as you and your baby come to an understanding on a particular sign, GO WITH IT!

My son had his own take on the "nurse" sign. While I would tug on my shirt, he would tap that same spot (on me or whoever was holding him) with his was really quite cute! At any rate, he knew what I was conveying when I tugged on my shirt, and I knew what he was saying when he signed it his own way. Of course Dad, Grandma and Grandpa can all use the sign on their own shirts whether or not they are equipped for nursing - the meaning is the same for Baby. =)

Ready for some signs?

A big thank you to my four-year-old for demonstrating these signs!

As I mentioned earlier, the sign for "Nurse" is to grab the front of your shirt with your thumb and forefinger and tug,

To sign "drink", make a fist with your thumb sticking out and bring it to your lips.

To sign "more", touch fingers to thumbs on both hands, and tap hands together so that the tips of your fingers touch.

This sign comes in handy at meal time!

To sign "eat", touch fingers to thumb and bring fingertips to your lips.

Does It Work?


At 13 months, my daughter can sign:

  • Nurse
  • All Done
  • more
  • please
  • eat
  • drink
  • play
  • fan
  • light
  • hello/bye-bye
  • up (as in "pick me up")

You May Recognize.....

Baby signs seem to have gotten a lot more publicity since Rachel Coleman from Signing Times started doing her videos on Nick Jr.

Have you tried signing with your baby? Do you have any questions, or any helpful tips? Let us know here!

Let me know what you think!

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    • profile image

      blondebecky 5 years ago

      really great lens, loved the read, think i mite try some these things one day soon hehe thx again :)

    • profile image

      BrassFittings 5 years ago

      Great lens, as a parent of 5 (so far) I have to agree that understanding each other in a car or anyplace is important to keep the peace between parent and child. No more crazy road trips where we throw everything at the baby to figure out what he / she wants. Now we "talk" or Sign:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      We taught my youngest son simple signs such as "more" and "please", and it really does help. The better he can communicate what he wants, the happier he is. Great lens.

    • sdakin profile image

      sdakin 6 years ago

      @Heather426: Excellent, I hope it helps! =) Thank you so much for the SquidAngel blessing!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      awesome, sending this to my daughter so she can teach my granddaughter!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 7 years ago

      Love the lens! My 14 month old signs more, all done, up, bye, hello, eat, and please and thank you.

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 7 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      What an amazing topic. It almost makes me wish I could start off again with my babies. Sort of... They are fully grown. :D

    • Ecolicious LM profile image

      Penny Pincher G 7 years ago

      I am going to work on these with my son.

    • noxid25 profile image

      noxid25 7 years ago

      Baby signing is a great idea and from experience - it works! Great lens! :)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great idea!

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 7 years ago from Western Mass

      such a helpful tool in early communication

    • lakern26 lm profile image

      lakern26 lm 7 years ago

      Great idea for a lens! I've never done this myself, but I do know others who've done it very successfully. Well done!

    • lakern26 lm profile image

      lakern26 lm 7 years ago

      Great idea for a lens! I've never done this myself, but I do know others who've done it very successfully. Well done!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Interesting idea to teach baby sign language.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      Excellent lens!

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 8 years ago from Los Angeles

      You presented this very nicely!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Sounds like a very worthwhile project. Nice lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 8 years ago from United States

      I also meant to tell you, I love your bio.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 8 years ago from United States

      Sounds like excellent advice. My babies are grown, but perhaps I can try your ideas (not the nursing one) on grand babies, if I am ever blessed with one. Just so you know, there is no hurry on that one for me. I am completely satisfied with my Grand Kitties:)

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago


    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Great lens and really wonderful to see you making awesome lenses. Blessed by a SquidAngel

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 8 years ago

      Like many others who have commented, our family used really simple signs when the kids were infants. The one we used the most was "all done".

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 8 years ago

      Hopped back in to let you know that I have featured your lens on Squid Report ( :) Feel free to grab a badge for this lens under About This Blog on the left menu. Thank you!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 8 years ago

      This is a fabulous lens! By the time I had heard about signing my boys were in their teens...this wonderful communication tool is on the back burner for the grandbabes.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 8 years ago

      What a great idea. I'll have to pass this on to my daughter who is expecting her first child in February. Lovely lens.5*****

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 8 years ago

      Great lens! I absolutely agree that teaching your baby sign language is a good thing to do. I love your pics!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago


    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Love this lens! emailing it to my daughter who has a 1 month old.:-)

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      This is so interesting to me. Almost makes me want another one but then again....mine are already grown. Very nice work.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      What a great idea! I wish it was something I had known about when my babies were babies. Pamela

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      I did teach my 3 year old a few signs when he was younger and it really helped communication.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      My baby is now talking... but now, I can't tell what really hurts her 'cause when she start to tell, there is no end to the list.... head hurts, leg hurts, etc... not very much helpful! LOL

      Excellent lens and very helpful to new mommies!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Wonderful! Great idea and love the photos of your boy doing the signs!

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 8 years ago

      I wish I had known about sign language when my "babies" were younger!

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 8 years ago from Australia

      Great lens! My "babies" are a little too big for this now (both teenagers) but my brother and his wife taught their children to sign. It was so cute. 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This is a great lens - just enough to whet the apppetite about baby signing! My little man has already made up some signs of his own so signing is such a natural thing for them to do - it seems sensible to harness that! :D

    • MsSnow4 profile image

      Carol Goss 8 years ago

      This is a great and helpful lens. Babies can learn a lot more than people think :)