Signing with your baby

January 15, 2010

It is ridiculously easy to teach your baby to communicate before he is able to speak. I started using a few signs with Calvin when he was about six months old because I had heard that signing can reduce a baby’s frustration as they wait for a parent to guess what they are upset about. It makes perfect sense to me – I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be if I could only communicate my needs by crying.

Calvin didn’t begin signing back to me until close to his first birthday, though some babies will sign sooner. It was easy to teach him and so much fun to watch him learn. All it takes is consistently using the sign when you say the word. The first sign we learned was “milk” which we use for nursing. You don’t have to be around him for too long before you will see him use this sign! He also knows the signs for more, eat, drink, toothbrush, sleep, bath, all done, up, love, book, quiet, moon and stars. Sometimes it’s tough to get him to make the sign, but the point is that he can sign if he chooses to communicate. Thus our most common signs are “milk” and “eat.”

One simple tool that made the learning process incredibly easy and fun was a little book we picked up at the library called Baby Signs for Bedtime. Calvin loved this book. He loved looking at the other babies and he quickly realized that they were signing. In no time he had mastered the signs, including signs that I would never have thought to teach him, such as moon and stars.

Sometimes I get an email from my mom saying “Calvin is making a sign and I am not sure what it means.” I can usually decipher the sign and then I send her to  Born 2 Sign, an online sign dictionary with videos demonstrating the sign.

It’s fun, it’s easy, and some signing advocates believe that it can help a child develop language skills. The verdict is out on that, but if it helps reduce tears and make a happy baby, then I am all for it.

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3 Responses to “Signing with your baby”

  1. Kelly Asiedu Says:

    Hello there. Appreciate your site. I read it regularly to get the newest articles. Extremely interesting posting.


  2. Thank you for the book recommendation! I plan to teach my son to sign. Are there any books on baby signing, for adults, that you’d recommend?

    Thanks again!

    • Liz Says:

      I read “Baby Signs” but I honestly didn’t love it. I seem to recall that it was mostly just stories about babies using signs and how it benefited the baby and the parents. Borrow it from the library if you can, but I don’t think it’s worth owning. Signing is really something you just do – learning the signs and then remembering to do them.


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