What is baby sign language?

Even if your baby isn’t talking yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t communicate. With baby sign language, teach your child some simple words to express their mood, state, or need. 

Baby sign language is a great way to reduce frustration-crying and, frankly speaking, your own frustration as well when trying to understand why your child is cranky or fussing. With a few hand gestures, you can understand whether your baby is hungry, hot, in need of a hug, or tired.

How does baby sign language work?

Originally based on American Sign Language (ASL), there are now different variations of baby signs. The idea is to focus on keywords that constitute your baby’s world, such as “milk,” “more,” or “change diaper.”

The main advantage of using this method of communication is increased understanding and well-being for both children and parents.

In addition, because when we use signs we also pronounce the words, it encourages your baby to speak earlier. 

At what age can your baby start sign language?

The best time to start teaching sign language to your baby is around 6 to 8 months old. At that age, your baby seeks to communicate more, becomes more curious, and becomes more attentive to what’s happening around him.

However each child’s development schedule is a little different, so wait for your little one to be receptive. Nonetheless, it’s never too late and you could start teaching them signs around 12 months old as well.

Learning signs takes repetition and commitment, so be patient.

7 simple gestures for baby sign language

You could decide to use any signs or keywords with your baby. In a way, it’s like your own “secret language.”

Still, it’s a good idea to check with their future daycare if they use any signs as it would make sense to use the same system.

In the meantime, here are a few simple gestures to get you started:

1. Milk

2. Hungry

3. Love

4. More

5. Read

6. Pick me up

7. Change diaper

Hope you will have fun teaching these to your baby!

For more tips and advice, check out my parent’s guide: how to choose a pediatrician.

Until next time, Tania xx