Using Sign Language With Your Baby F.A.Q.

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Here are some top questions we are often asked about babies using sign language. If you don't see the question/answer you are looking for, please use the search box:

Q: My baby can hear. Are there any benefits to teaching my babies and sign - follow us on twitterhearing child baby sign language?

A: Yes! Learning baby sign language builds confidence - your babyknows he can communicate more effectively, thereby reducing or possibly avoiding unnecessary frustrations and tantrums!

Q: When should I start teaching my baby signs? At what age is the best time to start?

A: The best time to introduce baby signs is when your baby is between the ages of 6 - 12 months. (Although some parents begin before 6 months and many start after 12-months.)

Q: Won't learning sign language cause a speech delay?

A: No. Research proves that babies who learn to sign, actually speak earlier than non-signing babies. Signing babies also tend to accumulate a larger (vocal) vocabulary than non-signing babies.

Q: How should I introduce the signs?

A: Starting with basic signs, you will want to sign the word each time you say it to your baby. For instance, use the sign for milk while asking your baby if he wants some milk. Repetition works best.

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Q: When will my baby sign back to me?

A: Depending on the age of your infant, baby, or toddler, how frequently s/he sees you sign, and how interested your child is in communicating; most babies sign back between 2 weeks -- 2 months after seeing their first sign. After your baby understands the power of sign language, he will begin signing back much sooner! Babies tend to accumulate several signs at once between the peak of 12-18 months. Just wait -- He will amaze you!

Q: My baby’s signs don't resemble mine. How do I get her to sign them correctly?

A: Just as your baby vocalizes ba for ball or da da for daddy, her signs may not resemble the standard handshape of signs at first. As she continues to see you signing the words properly, she will modify her own signs with time. Be sure always to praise your baby when she signs, no matter if it's done ‘correctly’ or otherwise.

Q: What if I don’t know a sign for a particular word?

A: We at Babies and Sign Language Com will certainly provide you with online materials and references. We will also provide you with sign language photos, videos (streamed online - coming soon!), as well as interactive sign language links for easy reference.

Q: Is it too late to start my 12 month old?

A: Nope! Babies benefit at any age in learning baby signs. Baby signs benefit babies anywhere from 4-36months old.

Also see: “Signing with your Toddler”

Q: How many signs and which signs do I begin with?

A: The most common sign parents begin using is milk, followed by more, eat, please, and thank you. Our son’s first sign was doggie!

Q: What if my childcare provider doesn’t use signs?

A: Many daycares and preschools are beginning to recognize the benefits of utilizing baby signs within their programs and report reduced frustration amongst children in groups as well as a decrease in noise levels within their classrooms. In other cases, biting problems were also reduced and/or eliminated. It is important to tell your childcare provider of the benefits of baby signs for your baby. You can of course, point them to our site!

Q: Is ASL hard to learn/acquire?

A: It is fairly simple to incorporate a few signs into daily activities [such as: mealtimes, bath time, playtime, story time you share with your baby.

Gestures are naturally and easily absorbed by babies and toddlers, making it easier for parents to delight in the same!

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