Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click the question to show the answer.

Six to eight months old is a good time to start.

The younger you start signing, the earlier your baby will start signing back, but when you start very young you need to be more patient. For example, when you teach a newborn, it may take six months before that child signs back. But, when you teach a six month old, it may only take two months for them to sign back.

Starting later, when a child is say 18 months is fine too. Children that start later, will typically catch on much faster, because their cognitive and motor skills are so much more advanced. Many older children will catch on within a week.

On average it takes a 6 month old baby, two months of signing exposure to start signing back.

The amount of time it takes a child to start signing back varies depending on the age, the amount of exposure, and the child (in that order). The older the child, the more exposure you give them to signing, and the earlier the child’s language window opens, the earlier they will sign.

Generally girls start signing a little sooner, and boys sign a little later.

Some of our reader have child that sign in just a few weeks. For others readers it takes several months. All our readers agree when it first happens it is a wonderful experience!

5 minutes per day.

Integrate signing into your regular daily activities. Sign when you greet baby, when you are reading a book, when you are eating. Babies learn from observation and these regular repetitions of the sign in context will help them learn the connection between the sign and the meaning of the word.

As they grow older, you may start playing some games that revolve around signing, like playing with animal flash cards. But, you are never going to have long, formal lessons with your baby – babies learn better from from observation and play.

5 minutes per day.

Integrate signing into your regular daily activities. Sign when you greet baby, when you are reading a book, when you are eating. Babies learn from observation and these regular repetitions of the sign in context will help them learn the connection between the sign and the meaning of the word.

As they grow older, you may start playing some games that revolve around signing, like playing with animal flash cards. But, you are never going to have long, formal lessons with your baby – babies learn better from from observation and play.

Five.

Start with five signs that they will have many opportunities to see during the day, and that they are motivated to learn. We recommend practical signs like mom, dad, eat, milk, and a fun sign like cat, dog, or fan. You can find more good starter signs here.

You start with more signs if you wish, but it is vital that you have a core set of signs where there is lots of frequent exposure. Doing one sign, fifty times a day is much better than doing fifty signs only once per day. Once your baby learns their first few signs, they will quickly develop a curiosity for new signs and that is the best time to expand your vocabulary.

It reduces tantrums. It is a lot of fun. And it has cognitive benefits.

Babies often get frustrated because they can’t communicate their needs to their parents. This leads to tantrum, fussing, and irritability. Baby sign language lets your baby constructively communicate what they want. Every parent that has had those moments of frantically trying to guess what a screaming child wants – baby sign language means fewer of those moments.

Baby sign language lets you get closer to your baby. You can get a better understanding of what they are thinking. And knowing that you understand makes your baby feel closer too. Not only is signing with your baby a lot of fun, studies show that signing families report a closer bond.

Baby sign language is associated with a range of cognitive benefits, including a higher IQ, better grades in school, and a larger vocabulary.

You can read more about benefits and research associated with Baby Sign Language.

Yes, the signs are American Sign Language (ASL).

The signs we teach are 99% American Sign Language (ASL), the language used by deaf people in the United States. In a very few cases where the sign is complex, we have used a common simplification to make the sign appropriate for a young child.

Like English, ASL has regional variations and sometimes there are multiple signs for each word. In these instances we have chosen the easiest and most common sign from among these variations.

Most people should use ASL.

Deaf people in different countries use different sign languages. For example, Australians use AusSign (Australian Sign Language) and Brits use British Sign Language. But, for Baby Sign Language most families use American Sign Language (ASL) irrespective of where they live.

ASL is used for baby sign language because of the wide range of available resources to teach ASL. There are plenty of books, tapes, flash cards and DVDs for infants that are available in ASL. Other sign languages have fewer resources, and it it can be hard to find good resources to help you teach.

The exception is if you have deaf family or friends that you would like baby to be able to sign with. In this case, it makes more sense to learn your local sign language.

Use the same sign for both languages.

Bilingual families use signing as the bridge between the two language. When you use the same sign for the word in both language, it helps you child understand that both mean the same thing.

For example, if you speak English and say water while making the sign, and your partner speaks Spanish and says agua they should also make the water sign.

Get The Kit & Sign Smarter

baby sign language kit

Save 50%

The Baby Sign Language Kits, bundle together everything you need to get started with signing in one box, at a steep discount. The premium kit includes: (1) Baby Sign Language DVDs & CDs, (2) Baby Sign Language Guide Book; (3) Baby Sign Language Dictionary: (4) Baby Sign Language Flash Cards; and (5) Baby Sign Language Wall Chart.

Signing Time DVDs: Learning Made Fun

Baby Sign Language DVDs teach your baby to sign while keeping them entertained. This Emmy Award nominated program, teaches all the basics in a fun musical format. Your baby will learn:

  • Food Signs – never miss when they are hungry, thirsty, want more or are all done
  • Utility Signs – skip tantrums and understand when they are too hot, too cold, or need a diaper change
  • Family Signs – greet grandma and grandpa

Reg. $94.99

Flash Cards: Expand Vocabulary

Flash Cards expand your baby’s signing vocabulary giving them more ways to communicate and express their creativity.

  • 52 Cards – add family, home, and animal signs
  • Illustrated – pictures on the front, the sign on the reserve
  • Durable – board mounted & includes a hard case for storage

Reg. $24.99

Get The Kit & Sign Smarter

baby sign language kit

Save 50%

Teaching Guide: Get Faster Results

Teaching Guide our best information on teaching Baby Sign Language. Topics covered include

  • Pepperberg Method – teach signs twice as fast
  • Phrases – combining signs to make simple phrases
  • Transition to Speech – transition to talking

Reg. $19.99

Signing Dictionary: 600 Signs at Your Fingertips

Signing Dictionary puts over 600 signs at your fingertips. Always have the right sign available to match your child’s interest.

  • 600 Signs – have the right sign available when you need it
  • Illustrated – each sign includes two diagrams with both starting and ending positions
  • Letters & Numbers – start counting and alphabet games

Reg. $19.99

Wall Chart: Reminder for Caregivers

Wall Chart provides a quick reminder of the basic signs. Let babysitters, grandparents, and other caregivers understand the signs.

  • 14 Signs – all the basic signs
  • Glossy Coating – wipe clean waterproof coating
  • 24″ x 36″ – large format poster

Reg. $24.99

Associated with higher IQ

Get The Kit & Sign Smarter

baby sign language kit

Save 50%

15 Responses to “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)”

  1. Tabitha

    Hi,
    My husband and I have recently decided to starting with our daughter (she’ll be 2 in three months). My grandmother is deaf so I think this would be great for both of them. Is 2 too late of an age to start? And whether it is or not, any tips on how to get her started with it? (Like simple things first)
    I’ve already started teaching her the sign for “thank you” since it’s a difficult word for little ones.

    Thank you in advance,
    Tabitha South

    ADMIN,
    Hi Tabitha,
    Never too late to start. Since the program is based on ASL the signs can be useful for a lifetime. I suggest you follow our quick start guide and pick five signs to get started. In the case of a toddler you have the advantage of quick learning. Incorporate baby sign language to games or as a game of memory by making associations between words and images

  2. Anthony

    My wife and i have been signing with our little girl since the age of 3 months. She is about to be 4 months. Should we move to the next video when she turns 4 months? She understand about half of the words on the video but not all. Not yet signing.

    Admin,
    Hi Anthony,
    I would stick to the first video and reinforce her basic signs until she starts modeling at least a couple of signs.

  3. LG

    Hi, If I realized I’ve been making a sign “wrong” (not according to ASL) and my daughter (10 months) has already seemed to be responding to and with that sign, is it okay to switch tracks and start with the correct sign from ASL? I know I can make up my own signs; the only reason I ask is because the sign is confusing – I brush my hands together to sign “all done” and she tends to clap to say “all done” as well as clapping when we sing, etc. and I realize now it might be better to use a sign that would be easier for me to understand from her. Would it make things more or less confusing to switch it up at this point? I’ve been signing with her since way before she could understand it and she’s started responding to me with signs in the last month or so, and that’s probably about when I introduced this “all done” sign. Thanks!

    ADMIN – Hi LG,

    I would stick with the sign you are already using. If your daughter later goes on to more seriously study ASL, it will be easy for her to correct the sign then.\

    If you do want to correct the sign, you can just start doing the new sign when she does the old version. You don’t need to correct her, over time she will just drift toward the correct version. (In much the same way that children drift from Baby Talk to the correct pronunciation.)

  4. TL

    I didn’t know the age to start signing with my son. He just turned 9 months about 10 days ago. So does that mean he will be learn to sign by 11 months? I think he does more already, when I sign more he puts his hands together – in fists and sort of one hand in the other. I need to be more consistent with that sign though. I’ve always loved the idea of using sign language and hope I can get this to be part of mine and my son’s daily lives for a long time!

    ADMIN: A later start at the stage when babies are most receptive usually results in quick progress. Each baby is different but we have testimonies of babies starting their lessons at 10 months old and signing as quickly as six weeks later. Be consistent, engaging and involve the whole family.

  5. Dakota

    I just found out about baby sign language and I want to teach my nine month old. How long on average would it take her to start signing back if I start now? I started last night.

    ADMIN – Hi Dakota,

    Every baby is different, we have babies signing within weeks of starting the program an others that take several months. Be consistent and give your baby regular exposure and she will catch on. Average for a 9-month-old would be 1 – 2 months.

  6. Beverly

    Hi, I love your website. I was looking for a sign for snuggle or hold me. Any ideas? Your site has helped us a lot.
    Thanks
    Beverly

    ADMIN – Hi Beverly,

    The sign I like to use to hold me is achieved by making an X with my arms on top of my chest right arm on top of left and slightly moving it forward and backwards while pointing to my chest with the index of my left hand. Simple and easy to learn!

  7. Lorraine

    Hi! I just started signing to my 7 month old son. I’m worried that when he starts daycare in two months that it will slow down his progress in learning sign language or decide to not sign back at all since the majority of his day is with people who don’t sign to him. Do you have any suggestions?

    ADMIN – Hi Lorraine,

    Nothing to fear. Your son is brilliant and will figure out who he can sign with and who he can’t. Multilingual children quickly figure out that they can speak English to Daddy, French or English to Mommy, French to Grandpa, Spanish to their teacher, and Mandarin to the dog. I remember my daughter learned a bit of Spanish at school and was puzzled when her daddy couldn’t understand, but soon set about fixing the problem by teaching him.

    Many daycare centers do Baby Sign Language, and if your doesn’t do it now it might be something you can suggest to them.

  8. Kate

    I am a nanny and am going to start teaching sign language to the 7 month old girl I care for. I was wondering if there was a simple sign for nanny, or any sign you would recommend she use to refer to me. I see there is a sign for babysitter but I was hoping to find something simpler. Thanks

    ADMIN – Hi Kate,

    Some nannies I know teach the baby their first initial. This is wonderful because parents can also use the sign.

  9. Darcy Megaw

    I understand how to teach things like “dog” and “more” but I’m not sure how too teach concepts like hurt and other similar situations where I’m not exactly how she feels. For example, if she was fussy and I wasn’t sure why, I would like for her to be able to show me the sign for hurt next to her mouth if she had teething pain or next to her tummy if she had gas. But if I’m not sure what’s wrong with her in the first place how do I make the sign association to teach it especially at a high repetition?

    ADMIN – Hi Darcy,

    We will do a blog post in a couple of weeks about teaching abstract principles.

  10. Jenyffer Gonzalez

    Hi, Im working with deaf and deafblind people for more than l5 years and i have to say this webside is amazing!!!! I really want to start with a baby sign language classes soon in a country i leave. ( Outside of the states) I found this page, very eduactional, basic, and anybody from interpreters or simply parents can use it in a fun way. Love the flash cards, and videos so easy and practical. in a whole sentences I love it all!! Thanks for this important resource to help parents and educational instructors to expand their skills in this field. I have a question i really want to downloud the flash cards, i have to do it one by one in adobe, or is another easy way to do it all at once. Im not a couputer savy so any help i can accept. Thanks a lot, Jenyffer Gonzalez

  11. Tiana

    Hi! Thanks for your site and all of the helpful information. I just started researching ASL for my 6 month old and this may be a silly question (and it may be answered somewhere else on the website) but does it matter what hand you use to make the signs? I noticed that you use your right hand in the videos, I am left handed and tend to favor my left hand but I wasn’t sure if it made a difference or not. Thanks!

    ADMIN – Hi Tiana,

    Baby sign language is transitional in nature. As long as you and the family understand what the baby is conveying I would not be so concerned about the dominant hand. However when we are talking about babies with hearing impairments or speech delays that will need sign language long term the hand used does matter.

  12. Marc

    I know it sounds unbelievable, but I’ve been signing more milk to them since birth, and at 9 weeks, they seem to understand, and are trying to make the sign themselves. (they are twins)

    ADMIN – Hi Marc,

    That is awesome. I have heard deaf families report signing as young as three months old, but never heard of anything that young.

    Our readers should note that 9 weeks is far from typical.

  13. Lauren

    Thank you for all of the information! I had no idea babies could start communicating this early.

    This website has been so helpful.

  14. Kelly Tasky

    Thanks so much for this website! I’ve been interested in doing sign language with my daughter (she is almost 6 months old). I love your videos that help really learn the signs. I have a question, though. Since the baby can learn mommy and daddy how do you teach the baby her name? Also, I watch another little boy…I don’t want him getting confused and calling me Mommy, how would I tell him my name (and communicate with his parents my name)?

    My daughter’s name is Khloe and my name is Kelly.

    Thanks…keep up the great website! : )

    ADMIN – Hi Kelly,

    In ASL names are usually finger-spelled, but that is too advanced for babies. I would instead either make up a simple sign, or use the first letter of your names.

  15. Sacha Wright

    Hello,

    I am a Canadian living in Italy and my 8 month old son is half Italian. I speak to him in English and his Dad speaks to him in Italian. I am wondering whether the words that we use when signing should be only in English or if we can do the same signs with both languages. For example, I sign ‘more’ and say ‘more’ in English, while my husband says ‘ancora’ in Italian while doing the sign. Do you think this approach will confuse him?

    Thanks for the wonderful website, I have sent the link to many of my friends on Facebook. This is the clearest and friendliest baby sign language site that I have come across.

    Sincerely,
    Sacha Wright

    ADMIN – Hi Sacha,

    We recommend using the same sign for both the Italian and the English word. Most bilingual families do it this way, and find the signs helps bridge between the two language and help baby understand that both the sign, Italian, and English words have the same meaning.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)