Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: When can I start signing? How Long Will It Take?
A: Six to eight months old is a good time to start. It takes an average of two months for a baby to start signing back.
You can start doing baby sign language at any age. You can even do prenatal baby sign language (more correctly known as fetal sign language). However, most babies don’t develop the cognitive and motor skills needed to learn signing until they are 6-8 months old. It helps to start sooner, but it can be frustrating for parents because babies won’t sign back. If you start at eight months old most babies will start signing back within two months
Q: Why Teach Baby Signing?
A: Reduce frustration & fussiness. Bonding. Fun.
Babies brains develop faster than their fine motor skills. Parents often observe that their one year old can understand lots of words but can’t speak. This can be very frustrating for a baby because they can’t communicate their needs to you. This leads to fussiness, a condition that child development psychologists formally call the “terrible two’s.” With sign language you can reduce a lot of this frustration. Even better, you can use it to have fun and play games together. bonding
Only someone that is not a parent would ask why you would want to be able to sign to your child!
Q: How does Baby Sign Language affect speech development?
A: It accelerates speech development.
Professor Linda Acredolo (U.C. Davis), and Professor Susan Goodwyn (C.S.U.) have received a series of NIH grants over the last twenty years to research baby sign language. Their research shows that signing babies have larger vocabularies and improved cognitive development. Baby Sign Language seems to help bridge the gap to speaking for infants. It also seems to get them more interested in learning. For more information on baby sign language research see here.
In fact, if a baby has trouble speaking, most speech pathologists will teach the baby to sign as a bridge to speaking. The reason is that talking can be very hard and frustrating for babies. They try to form words but they don’t quite come out right. For example, instead of “ball” the child might approximate by saying “ba”. When the words aren’t recognized by the parents babies can get frustrated and give up. When the baby does the accompanying sign, parents recognize and reward the approximate pronunciation. Over time as the babies speech gets better, they drop signing because it is too slow – much like a walking toddler stops crawling.
Q: Do you use ASL? What if I live overseas?
A: The signs we use are American Sign Language (ASL). I would recommend all English speakers use ASL.
In a very few cases where the sign is complex, we have simplified it to make it easier to learn.
Sign language has many dialects, and even different English will use different sign languages. For example, Australians use AusSign (Australian Sign Language). The main reason we use American Sign Language is that there are lots of resources available to teach ASL. There are plenty of books, tapes, flash cards and DVDs for infants that are available in ASL. In countries with a smaller population, we have heard it can be harder to find resources if you use the local sign language. Of course if you happen to have any deaf family or friends that you would like baby to be able to sign with – learn in your local dialect.
If you found this information useful, check out our award winning baby sign language kit. It includes more than 600 signs, covers advanced teaching methods for faster results, and includes fun teaching aids like flash cards.
The Deluxe Baby Sign Language Kit, bundles together everything you need to get started with signing in one box, at a steep discount. The kit includes: (1) Baby Sign Language Guide Book; (2) Baby Sign Language Dictionary: (3) Baby Sign Language Flash Cards; and (4) Baby Sign Language Wall Chart.
Baby Sign Language Guide Book shows you how to teach your child how to sign. The book begins with a Quick Start Guide that will teach you your first signs and having you ready to sign in 30 minutes. As your baby progresses, you can delve into more advanced topics like combining signs to make phrases, using props, and transitioning to speech. (Regularly $19.95)
Baby Sign Language Dictionary contains over 600 signs including the most common words, the alphabet and numbers. The dictionary helps you expand your child’s vocabulary, and has the breadth of coverage that lets you follow any child’s natural interests. Each sign is illustrated with two or more diagrams, showing you the starting position, the ending position, and intermediate motion. This makes learning new signs easy. (Regularly $19.95)
Baby Sign Language Flash Cards include 52 sturdy board (4×6 inches) flash cards, covering a variety of basic signs. The flash cards allow you to teach words, such as animal names, that Baby is not exposed to in everyday life. The face of the flash cards shows the word and image for the child. The back of the flash cards show how the sign is performed, a handy reminder for the adult. (Regularly $24.95)
Baby Sign Language Wall Chart includes 22 basic signs, and makes a handy reminder for caregivers. The Baby Sign Language Wall Chart covers basic signs, like eat, drink, and sleep. Hang the poster in Baby’s Nursery to help babysitters, or other occasional caregivers learn and decode the most commonly used baby signs. (Regularly $9.95)
Baby Sign Language Guide Book
Learn the best techniques for effectively teaching baby sign language. Including:
• Quick Start Guide – learn the first 10 signs and the basic principles required to start teaching your baby to sign (Chapter 1).
• Advanced Teaching Methods – use teaching aids like books, flash cards, and toys to keep lessons interesting and challenging (Chapter 5).
• Phrases – teach your baby to combine signs and communicate more complex thoughts (Chapter 6).
• Taming the Terrible Twos – reduce frustration and tantrums by enabling your toddler to communicate (Chapter 7).
• Transitioning to Speech – use sign language to expedite and improve speech development (Chapter 8).
Baby Sign Language Flash Cards
52 high quality flash cards (4 x 6″). Featuring:
• Clean Images – real life pictures, isolated on a white background to make learning easier.
• Signs on the Rear – diagrams on the back illustrating the signign motion in case you need a reminder.
• Baby Friendly – printed on thick stock so little hands can play with the cards and they will live to play another day.
Baby Sign Language Dictionary
The Baby Sign Language Dictionary includes :
• Words (500+) – learn signs for nearly every topic of interest.
• Letters – sign the alphabet and teach basic spelling.
• Numbers (0-10) – introduce counting and basic mathematics.
Baby Sign Language Wall Chart
The full color wall chart (24 x 36″) includes 17 everyday signs. Use the wall chart for:
• Caregivers – help babysitters and other caregivers learn the basic signs so they can understand baby’s signs.
• Family – teach family the basic signs so they can join in the fun.