Infant Baby Signing

Updated on June 23, 2009
K.B. asks from New Braunfels, TX
26 answers

I am sure that this has been asked on here before but who out there has taught their little one to sign. I an thinking of teaching my son and just want to know at what age did you begin and did you use videos, books and if so which ones were the best?

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C.S.

answers from Killeen on

I started using sign with my daughter when she was about 4 or 5 months. She started signing back at 6 months. I used sign before my daughter was born so I taught her what I knew and then continued with Signing Time videos. You can find them at www.signingtime.com I also got some sign flash cards from Barnes and Noble and hooked them on to her diaper, and the shopping cart cover. Anywhere that she would sit for periods of time I would have them for her to look at and for she and I to practice together. I love it and I wouldn't change doing it for the world. My daughter had a huge vocabulary by the time she was 9 months! Wonderful experience!!

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C.T.

answers from Houston on

I began at 9 months.

It really comes in handy when they begin talking about you have no idea what they are saying.

I used baby einstein and toddlerwise.

She knows the essentials so far, milk, more, juice.

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T.D.

answers from Longview on

Hi K.,

I think if you start them early like when they first start to pronounce and understand words kids get it quick.
I taught at a daycare for a couple of years and was desporate for new things to do with 1 yr olds, so I bought a book on ASL and started teaching them. I started with very simple words at meal times. Some of the kids were interested and some weren't, but when I went to the 2 yr old room, they seemed to really enjoy it. I started adding words daily like, play, tree, apple, mother and father. As with the 1 yr olds, some got it quickly, and others just didn't want to, but the ones who wanted to do it got it very quickly.

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L.V.

answers from Houston on

signingtime.com

my baby understood 65+ signs by the time she was one years old. she is now 2 1/2 and still uses them with her words and to communicate with some other kids who sign.
the actual host of the show is a little annoying but, it's a great teaching source! You must of course learn them too, because it helps your child practice and for you to understand how to communicate as well!

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K.S.

answers from Beaumont on

I am teaching my daughter to sign. I started when she was about 18 months. She just turned 23 months old and I have an almost 8 month old. She does some signing and its pretty cool. I started with a Baby Einstein dvd and then I purchased a Baby Signing Time set. It comes with the dvds, cds, and flash cards and we love it!! Go to babysigningtime.com and check it out.

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K.L.

answers from Austin on

I think I started at about 3 months. No videos or books yet, just me signing to her. She first signed back at 6 or 7 months. She is now 19 months and can sign 55 words, and understands many more. I loved having this alternate way to communicate with my little girl before she could talk! It help tremendously! And now, if she's across a noisy room, or outside a window, and can just sign to her. It's great. The only downfall is making sure everyone around y'all (friends and family) knows the signs too or else it can be frustrating for the little one! It's great! I support it 100%!!! BTW, some people say it delays their speech a bit, I disagree. She is actually ahead of the game!!! Good luck Momma!

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D.F.

answers from Austin on

We love Signing Time. Check your local listings on PBS. It usually comes on twice a week. But - they also offer DVD'[email protected]____.com son's verbal skills were dramatically faster than others his age and I directly attribute it to this program. He's 3 1/2 now and still does alot of the signs and still loves this program. I started him when I found out about it from another mom when he was around 10 months, and he started copying some of the really basic signs not too long after that.

But - kids learn from mommy best! If you do signs while eating, bathing, etc. (any quiet time you get!) that are related to what you are doing, he'll learn them to communicate with you. Have fun!

Debbie

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J.T.

answers from College Station on

You should begin signing with your baby now. Pick a couple of simple ones like eat, drink and more. Just do it every time you talk to him....are you hungry? (make sign for eat) do you want a drink (make sign for drink) that sort of thing. It will increase his vocabulary, as well as continually showing him th signs.

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M.B.

answers from Houston on

I started using sign language (ASL) with my daughter when she had about 4-5 words or so in her vocabulary. A friend recommended the "Signing Time" videos to me, but they were fairly expensive. So I checked my local library and was able to check out a dozen of them for free. My daughter fell in love with "Signing Time" and began communicating more frequently and readily. She begged to watch the videos all the time. For Christmas we bought her the first three. Now she is about to turn four, and it's still one of her first choices of activities to watch "Signing Time." My seven year old even gets into them from time to time! I highly recommend the "Signing Time" series, although if I were you I would check them out from the library first before putting out a lot of money for them.

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M.R.

answers from Austin on

I began teaching sign to my daughter at about 4 mos. Everytime I handed her a bottle, I would sign milk. She made the sign for milk on her own at 8 mos. She is now 17 mos and knows so many signs. Her vocabulary is outstanding for her age. I use Signing Time DVDs. They are wonderful and easy to learn from. My baby asks for them all of the time now. Check them out at signingtime.com.

M.

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K.H.

answers from Houston on

K.,
we used ASL with all three of our kiddos with great results. We mostly did eating words (eat, drink, more, all done, milk, etc) along with please, thank you, and diaper. The main thing we noticed was how it cut down on the frustration of not knowing what baby wanted. We started after we introduced solids, but I know that you can earlier than that. The main thing is just to do what works best for you. I stuck with actual ASL signs because that made me feel better, but you can make up your own signs too and that still works for communicating. I just checked out a couple of books of baby signs from the library and went from there.

We also encouraged grandparents and babysitters to use it to reinforce. It was really nice being able to say to my one year old, who didn't have a verbal vocabulary, "use your words please."

What's been a really cool result is that now my 6yo loves ASL and is enjoying learning more. And My 4yo knows when I sign "please" to him that he needs to add the "magic word" to his request. And my 2.5yo still rubs her chest as she says please to anyone.

Enjoy the process with your baby and that will be the best part of it!
K.
TheMommyJournal.com
Mom of Kate (6), Ethan (4), and Karis (2.5)

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C.S.

answers from Victoria on

teaching my kids to sign was one of the best things I did. My daughter was a slow talker and signing was the only way I knew what she wanted. She was smart as a whip and could point out anything I asked her too so I knew she knew the words, she just wasn't verbal. Dr.'s kept telling me every kids different and until she turned 2 they wouldn't worry or get involved. Well, just after her 2nd birthday she got another unexplained fever and a new PA at the clinic thought it was her ears, but couldn't really see into her canal well. I told her that was the norm since she was about 10 mths old. She then asked how often these fevers happened and I told her about every 45-60 days. she then ordered the nurse to clean out my daughters ears with warm water. OMG! You can not believe what came out of my baby's ears!! It was disgusting. Immediately after she was talking with in days. I was so grateful for the PA and we never went to our regular DR again after that visit. Anyway, she stil knows all the signs and uses them interchangably. Her brother talked at 10 months and while he used some of them just really seemed to prefer talking, but it helped both my kids with their vocabularies. They are now 3 & 4 and correctly use words like disgusting, beverage, responsibilty. People comment all the time how grown up their vocabulary is. so good luck and definately take the time to teach your little one to sign. Use books, DVD's, or even pull them off the internet, but it is worth it.

C.B.

answers from Houston on

There are some wonderful videos out called Signing Times. I got them on Amazon for about $10/video. They have some just for babies.

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C.

answers from Houston on

I started with all 3 of mine around 8 months. Some people say they get results early on, but most of my kiddos didn't start signing until 10-11 months, and that was just 1 or 2 signs. But right around their 1st birthday, all 3 of mine really started picking up a lot of signs. Then they began trying to speak the words with the signs, so I really think it helps jump-start their speech. It has really been most beneficial with my 3rd child, who is 22 months right now and hardly says a thing! But he can sign and use gestures to get us to understand most of what he wants to convey.

I didn't use any specific program. I bought a couple of second-hand books showing signs, and printed some information from the internet, even learned a few from friends. It's all about learning a few signs, doing them in context (sign "eat" right as you put food in their mouth, sign "down" every time you put them down). Repetion, repetition, repetition. Then after a few weeks, start saying & signing in context, then take their little hands & help them form the sign. Do this every time. Say it, sign it, help them sign it, praise them afterward. It might feel like you're getting nowhere, and then one day...you'r little baby signs for something & it's sooooo cool!!

Our most used signs (in order of most useful & eariliest learned) are:

Down (kids are always whining and jerking around to get down)
Milk
Eat
More
All Done
Drink
Please
Thank You
Help

We even made up some of our own signs. I pat my chest and say "I love you" to my kids, and they all learned that very early on. Nothing is sweeter than having your baby look at you and pat their chest in response to you saying I love you. Also, the sign for "all done" involves using both hands swiping back & forth in front of you (more or less)...so we use 1 hand swiping to say "No thank you." That is usually used in response to one of the older children trying to force a toy on the baby or drag him to a spot to play. Rather than scream, I'm teaching him to swipe his little hand in front of him to say "No thank you" (and having to teach the older ones to comply!!). So, my point is...you can even make up some of your own signs or gestures to improve communication.

We haven't use a lot of signs, just the ones that work for us. And it really has been great. I definitely recommend it. Just do it a lot and be patient for the results. Good luck!!

C.

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V.B.

answers from Houston on

I think you can start anytime. The earlier the better. They can understand so much more than we give them credit for. We started with my daughter around 6-7 months old and she picked it up right away. She just did the basic signs (milk, eat, drink, more, please, thank you), but it helped a TON because she was able to communicate with us. I started around 8-9 months old with my son and he is almost 13 months and is starting to understand it now. He makes a couple of signs, but not always the right ones for the right things. My daughter was always an exceptional communicator and is exceedingly bright, so she picked it up sooner (she was speaking in complete sentences at 17 months old and is 3 1/2 and can write and read small words). I think my son is more in the normal range. I used the "Baby Signs" book. All I really did was look at the chart that told you how to make the sign and then just used it consistently until they start to mimic it. I would say "show Mommy eat!" or "show Mommy more" to get them into the habit of using the sign instead of grunting or whatever. Anyway, I highly recommend using it.....it helps a lot until they can communicate more verbally. Good luck and have fun with it!

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A.S.

answers from Austin on

I watched Signing Time with my son and he picked signs up very easily.

I think you can start anytime. Yay!

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M.T.

answers from Austin on

You can go ahead and start. I used flashcards. I would shoe the picture, say the word and do the sign all at the same time. When he started eating solids and wanted more of something I would she him the sign for more and teach him how to do it. You will be surprised at how fast they pick it up.

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A.O.

answers from Sherman on

Start now! I bought the "Baby Signs" book and started using signs consistantly around 4 months. (at meal times) By 6 months, my son was signing "more" and "all done". He started speaking at 9 months (no kidding) woke up asking, "what's that?" and then would repeat the word you said. We didn't push signing much after that. We taught our 2 daughters the same signs and both used between 6-7 months. We pushed more using thier words then thier signs, but it was nice at mealtime to avoid tantrums over wanting more and being done.

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C.H.

answers from Houston on

Hi K.,
My sister used signing with her son. She just used the sign and said the words at the same time. I don't know of one particular source she used. Signing worked out really well when her DS was especially tired or frustrated because he would sign bottle or blankie instead of speaking. It cut out the guessing. I know there is a book for children called "Baby Signs" which is cartoon illustrated with a baby and the featured word and simple sign. You could read and demonstrate those simple words now so that your DS would already be familiar with them even if he were not able to demonstrate them yet. It helps others to identify what the child wants if he is in someone else's care rather than the frantic guessing game. =) HTH

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C.C.

answers from San Antonio on

I did not get any videos but I did teach my daughter to sign at about 8 months. I learned through books and the internet. She did great! She is now 3 1/2 years old and has been speaking in full sentences since before she was two. I really believe that her ability to communicate so well was because of the signing. I highly recommend it. May you be blessed as you see your son grow in this exciting adventure.

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M.F.

answers from Austin on

K.,

Now is the perfect time to start!

I used sign with both my girls. My youngest wasn't quite as receptive as my oldest, but she had an older sibling that was happy to do her talking for her. ;-)

I ordered a kit from http://www.sign2me.com/shop/page3.html.
It walks you through step-by-step the best way to teach, has a video, book, and a "cheat sheet." I think it was around a year or so, I started running out of signs from the kit, and bought an ASL book. At around 18 months, my daughter knew about 50 signs. It was lots of fun, being able to communicate. We'd go to the zoo, and she'd giggle, point, and make the signs for tiger and lion.

I'll never forget when it first really started "clicking" for her. She was about 10 months, and I was watching the neighbor's dog. My daughter sat on the back steps with me, started rubbing her chest (please), then she would clap and hold her arms out (just like I would do when I would tell her "come 'ere" as I was picking her up).
She was telling Nikita, "Please come here." :-D

It really is such a joy to be able to communicate long before your baby can speak. Everyone I know that's utilized sign language has been MUCH less frustrated (both child and parents). It minimizes the guessing games.

Good luck, and happy signing!
M.

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A.C.

answers from San Antonio on

Start now!!! I used baby signs with both of my boys, now 6 and 3 1/2. I mostly used only meal time and bed/nap time signs. I did not use any books. I just searched for what I could online. Books are helpful though. My oldest had a speech delay so it worked great to help us understand. My youngest began using "more" sign at around 6 months. The important thing is for you to allways use the word when you are signing and be consistent. He will pick it up quickly! It really helps to cut down on their frustration with not being able to speak clearly. They have a form of communication with you. Good luck and have fun.

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K.H.

answers from Killeen on

I did this with both my kids. My oldest I started at 4 months. ( had not heard of it before then.) With my son I started at birth.
They both caught on very quickly. My son responded to "milk" sign at 3 months and signed it himself at 5 months.
It did cut down on the aggravation they feel not being able to communicate.
They are older now and we still use some words in public. I can "Q" them to say please and thank you with out any one else knowing.
we stuck to the basic words at first and then added as we needed to.

I don't think it matters what age...but the earlier you start the earlier they learn.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 1Peter1:2

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H.T.

answers from College Station on

I started using ASL signs with my son when he was around 6 months. He didn't pick them up until around 9 months, but they made our lives so much easier as he approached a year. We both could tell the other what we needed and wanted.

http://www.aslpro.com/

The above site has a video dictionary for baby versions of the proper ASL signs.

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K.B.

answers from Austin on

My son is 18 months old with a mild speech developement. My sister is very fluent in sign language, and so is her husband( though neither are deaf) and when they came down for my wedding two weeks ago, they started teaching him a few basic signs They taught him more first, and then milk. he has done very well with both in the last few days!

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M.F.

answers from El Paso on

This is a great time to start - get a simple book at Barnes & Noble for babies and start with milk and dad and M. and pets...your little one may not be able to do it yet but seeing you do so he will understand the signs and by 1 he will do some. It is awesome!

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