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Baby Sign Language


​​Baby Sign Language

Teresa McEvoy
Cont. Education Specialist


What are the benefits of signing with my baby?

It promotes language development. Secondly, we see that children can usually communicate manually before they can communicate orally. An example of that might be for an infant to do "more," with their hands, it's easier than saying "more," with your lips. And so by being able to communicate wants and needs, it reduces frustration not just for the infant but also for the parents.

When should I start signing to my baby?

The earlier the better. The more a child sees a signed word or hears a spoken word, they learn it faster so as soon as you want to dive into learning sign that's the best time to start.

What signs should I start teaching?

Children will usually start communicating things they want or need. For example, milk would be one of the signs that a lot of times children will say or sign early. This is just actually made, when you think about milking a cow, that's where that comes from, mom and dad.

How do I get started learning baby sign language?

Get a book, check out one of the DVDs from the library, start learning the the vocabulary, it's nice to kind of keep a list and check it off with mom and dad. The more you use it, the easier it becomes and the more natural.

One thing that I think some parents do is their thinking so much about their signs that they're not communicating naturally the way they would with their child and you don't want to do that. You want to be just natural and if it starts to get in the way of communication, if you thinking more about what you're signing thing what you're saying and the way you're interacting, you want to slow down a little bit.​

Baby sign language can be beneficial in the development of your newborn. Teresa McEvoy, Continuing Education Specialist at Boys Town National Research Hospital, explains how signing can aid in language development, when signing with your baby should begin and what signs you should start teaching.