One of our sweet friends asked us to publish this letter. If you are in Farmington Hills Michigan please share:
Dear Lady Wearing The Red Sweater,
Having four kids under five is no easy task. As a SAHM I am most frequently delighted but sometimes, when everyone has had a long day I am not at my best.
Last week I was at Hiller’s trying to do some pre-Thanksgiving grocery shopping with all four of my little angels in tow. When my toddler started to scream and my four year old ran down the aisle you made the choice to approach us instead of looking the other way. You did not care that my baby had sticky fingers nor did you mind how she decided to pull your beautiful CLEAN long hair. There you were, so perfectly put together with all manner of gourmet food in your cart that told me there were no kids waiting at home. Your gorgeous red sweater reminded me of my days as a working executive. You from all people, the one that looked the busiest and most important stopped and cared about this mother’s dilemma.
By the time I was able to catch my runaway child you had a hold of the cheerios bag and were signing “more“, “please” and “thank you” with my little Abby. She was thrilled!!
I asked where you had learned baby sign language and you told me about this website, you also mentioned how you work with little ones and use baby sign language as part of their early child development curriculum. Before I knew it my kids were acting up and I forgot to say thank you.
I hope you see this note. To me that day you made a world of difference. I am grateful for people like you that decide to freely give their time without passing judgement and engage with others at their level. I did not ask your name. I wish I had but if perchance you see this note know that my family and I are deeply thankful. To me you were a breath of fresh air!
Happy Thanksgiving Lady in the Red Sweater
Barb & Her 4 Kids
From November 18, 2014 to December 1st 2014 you can purchase any of our baby sign language kits and receive a full refund upon submitting a video of your baby signing 10 signs or more.
All Baby Sign Language Kits Qualify for 100% Refund!
Here is how:
- Purchase your baby sign language kit
- Keep your confirmation email dated from 11/18/2014 to 12/1/2014
- Submit your qualified video of your baby signing 10 signs or more to [email protected] along with your confirmation email.
- Once your video has been reviewed and approved by meeting the qualifications below we will paypal you the the total cost of your kit minus shipping.
Purchase Your Kit Before December 1st to Qualify
Here are some samples:
Some Tips That Will Help:
We are looking for babies between four and eighteen months to best feature the benefits of BSL. (If your baby is slightly older or younger submit your video, we won’t be checking IDs). Here are some tips for making a great video.
- Make sure there is lots of good lighting
- Seriously, you can’t have enough light
- Use the highest resolution video capture available (iPhone / Smartphone videos are fine)
- Catch baby in a playful mood, clothed and clean
- Try to maintain an uncluttered backdrop and foreground
- Limit background noise or distractions (TV off)
- No editing necessary
- 1 to 5 minute videos
The small print:
Your video must be set in landscape format, be clear (not shaky) and have a clean and orderly background if at home or contextual background if you are making a compilation of baby signs in real-life and on the road.
It can be a continuous recording or you can stitch it from different takes if that is easier for you.
The video must have a minimum of 10 signs
We want you to enclose a paragraph telling us about your signing experience. Please make it 300 to 500 words
There is no time limit for submission but we do ask for baby to be under 24 months at the time of the video
Videos are subject to the approval of our Multimedia Manager, but don’t worry if yours needs revisions we will email you and give you a chance to retake.
We do all the editing for you. It is OK to submit raw video as long as it is good quality.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. When is the time limit for submission?
-No time limit as long as your baby is under 24 months at the time the video is recorded
2. Can I do a time-lapse as my baby progresses?
Yes, we encourage you to keep the camera rolling and stitch together the best moments of baby’s learning journey
3. Can I participate if I am outside the United States?
Yes you may, keep in mind that we will only refund the cost of the Premium Kit. You are responsible for shipping costs, but we Do ship worldwide.
4. Can I include more than one baby?
Absolutely! If you have multiples or you run a daycare you are encouraged to participate
5: Do I need to present proof of purchase?
Yes, you will need to send us a copy of your purchase confirmation email.
Send your video & story to:
Today we observe Veteran’s Day and we can’t begin to tell you how grateful we are for our service men and women selflessly serving our country. A few months ago we received this email capturing the very reason why in addition to our beautiful kits we offer hundreds of free printable and digital baby sign language resources.
To every mom & dad deployed this Veteran’s Day here is a big hug from us and a note that we hope fills you with love and encouragement for the days to come (I have changed the namesto protect the privacy of the sender):
Dear Baby Sign Language Team,
When my first baby was born I was deployed overseas serving in a hazardous zone. I was not given the option to return home to be with my wife during his birth and we did what we could to make the best of it. I joined via FaceTime and with the help of our Doula was able to encourage my wife and witness the birth of my son Watson
About two weeks after my little man was born I received a box from my sister. It was my first care package as a daddy and it included things you would not normally see in a war zone. A t-shirt that read “World’s Best Daddy”, chocolate cigars, a leather journal (what is a guy supposed to do with a journal anyways?) a deck of baby sign language flashcards and baby board books with titles such as Moo Baa, La La La, Good Night Moon, Small Cowboy, The Very Hungry Caterpillar & other titles that at the time I had no idea would become my favorites.
My work with the military involves all manner of communication technologies from satellites to knowing how to handle encryption. Because I love everything related to communications I wanted to find a way to connect with Watson that made sense to him and helped us bond. Bonding can be a difficult thing when you don’t have physical touch.
My wife and I would Skype or FaceTime almost every day and soon Watson began to react to noises and tried to engage with the source of noise (the iPad). When I realized my little man was noticing me I wanted to do something that would help us be daddy & son. I began using my extra small collection of board books and read to Watson every single night. Soon enough I had memorized every single book! When Watson was 4 months old he started fixing his eyesight on the screen and I decided I would give baby signing a try. We started with basic signs. Since I was not in close proximity meeting his needs or signing contextually was not really an option. All we had was books (very few) flashcards and a ton of love and interest in finding a way to connect. Soon enough Watson began mimicking signs.
To make the story short I am now in my second deployment and Watson is a toddler. Watson learned to sign the whole baby sign language deck and soon enough I was printing flashcards like crazy and learning new signs myself. My wife tells me Watson can sign over 100 signs!
In my current deployment we have some opportunities to interact with local children. I have used the flashcards as a way of engaging with the local children and each time I get to love them and serve them I think of my little man back home. I hope as he grows signing becomes our secret code.
Sorry for the long email, I mainly wanted to thank you for all the free resources you have. They have been priceless to me.
PS: Can you please make the flashcard for soldier?
Happy Veteran’s Day!
Almost on a daily basis we receive questions from moms who are concerned regarding the signing progress of their babies. Based on the most common questions and concerns brought up by all of you we have compiled a list of reasons why you may not be getting the results you expected from baby sign language.
Baby is Not Quite Ready to Start Signing
We are constantly exposed to messaging from friends and strangers regarding their own milestones and the milestones of their little ones. As parents we frequently forget about the average and tend to focus only on over-achievers. Just because you just saw a video of a four month old baby signing the ten basic signs it does not mean your baby is ready or developmentally able to do the same. Don’t compare and focus on giving your baby the best chance to learn at their own pace.
Baby is Already Signing and You Are Failing to Identify & Respond
We see this more frequently than we care to mention. Parents, caregivers and educators fail to observe baby closely and identify progress in the form of attempts to mimic signs and movement. Because babies have limited fine motor skills their first signs may not be of textbook quality. It is up to you the parent to closely observe micro-movements and gestures that happen in response to visuals and voice associations. For example your baby may try to open and close their hand when you say the word milk. Count these small but consistent attempts as signs resting assured that baby will eventually refine their movements.
Baby is Being Taught Signs That Are Not Relevant to Their Context
This is another common mistake and one that can be easily corrected. In the excitement of teaching babies how to sign many parents go directly to the deck of flashcards and try to teach baby as many signs as possible regardless of relevance. If your baby has never visited the ocean perhaps sand and starfish should not be part of their first signs. Pick signs that make sense to baby and meet basic needs and wants that allow for daily engagement.
Baby is Not Receiving Contextual Reinforcement & Praise
Just signing back to baby or leading with a sign won’t cut it. Babies need you to reinforce and praise consistently. Each time they try to complete a sign make it a point to praise them verbally and through facial expressions. Make each achievement a mini party that fills your baby with joy and wonder.
Baby is Way Too Young
Regardless of the stories that you hear from neighbors and friends chances are your baby won’t start signing until he or she is about six months old. Yes there are exceptions and we truly delight in celebrating and sharing when we identify a baby who is an early signer but we don’t want you to build false expectations and become discouraged. Your baby will sign in due time and when he does you will be thrilled.
Baby is Subject to Unfair Comparisons
Every once in a while we receive stories and testimonies as well as baby sign language videos of signing superstars. There are babies who can sign over 200 signs before they turn two and some precocious students that will sign milk as early as four months old. For your sake and the sake of your little one do not make comparisons. Your job is to help your baby achieve their next milestone at their pace based on their individual needs. What matters is not when baby begins signing but how baby uses their signs to make their life and yours easier once they understand the purpose of communication.
Baby Has Discovered Other Means of Communication
We see this scenario way too frequently. If a baby is able to obtain what they want by crying pointing and pulling it is essential that the parent redirects the engagement and provides the child a visual on how signing can help them obtain what they want or need. Often, we are too quick to give up and just move on by giving baby something to soothe them instead of taking the opportunity as a teachable moment.
Baby is not Receiving Reinforcement from Caregivers & Family Members
It really does take a village to raise a child. If your little one spends eight to ten hours in daycare or with relatives and the only time he gets to sign is when baby is with you their speed of learning will be severely halted. Lovingly enlist everyone involved with the care of your baby by showing them the short and long term benefits of baby sign language. In the long run everyone will benefit and thank you for it.
If you are struggling with your baby’s progress we want to remind you that you are most likely in the right path and you have not even noticed. Don’t be discouraged and take each day as a new opportunity to discover the world together with your baby. At the end of the day your goal is to improve the quality of life of your little one and that is always achieved if your primary goal is to love them.
We hope you are looking forward to this awesome evening as much as we are. Because we love your babies and we want you to have an uneventful holiday please take note of the following quick tips for safety and pass them along. You may just save a life or prevent a serious accident.
- Make sure your baby is dressed warm enough to be outside. Don’t sacrifice their comfort for the sake of a cool halloween costume.
- Hard candies are a no-no. Check their trick or treat baggie and make sure what they get to keep is age appropriate.
- If your baby is of walking age and he is coming along for trick-or-treat activities with older siblings never, ever let go of their hand. Better yet, use a stroller or a baby harness.
- Light up your baby with flourecent or reflective materials to make them visible but do keep in mind that some glow sticks are toxic.
- If your baby has an upper respiratory condition or cough consider staying indoors. You will have many other chances in the future.
- Keep it simple and only visit a few trusted neighbors.
- Make sure their costume is flame-retardant.
- Decline or discard homemade treats unless they come from a trusted party.
- If your toddler has peanut allergies don’t expose them to treats. Many have been in contact with nuts on the exterior of the package.
- Trunk-o-treats and fall festivals tend to be better lighted and safer for the whole family. Consider the option during this season in life.
Happy & Safe Halloween from BabySignLanguage.com
We can’t wait for Halloween. For many many friends this will be the first Halloween their baby or toddler will have the opportunity to dress up and participate in Trick-0-treating and many other fun family activities. If you are going to stop by the bookstore or library consider these fun baby books. We have many baby sign language flashcards you can combine as you read-along together.
Biscuit Visits The Pumpkin Patch
Favorite Baby Signs
Where is Baby’s Pumpkin
Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin
We hope you enjoy these books as much as we have enjoyed them with our little ones. If you are interested in signing as you read consider getting the Ultra Baby Sign Language Kit. This fantastic signing kit includes 4 Signing Time DVDs as well as four beautiful signing board books. Time to Eat, Good Night Alex and Leah, What Do You See Outside & Will You Be My Friend.
Have a happy & safe Halloween!
One of the most common questions we receive relates to progress on how baby processes, understands and responds to baby sign language. With many parents reporting baby signs as early as five months it can sometimes be perplexing to try to guess is your baby is in the right path.
If you have been diligent in implementing the basics of learning sign language and those around you such as caregivers and other family members are supportive and participative in the learning process chances are baby will begin signing quicker than ever.
Here are some of the most common signs that will help you know if your baby is about to begin using baby sign language:
- Your baby maintains eye contact when you are signing.
- Your baby is emotionally responsive to signs by smiling and other facial expressions.
- Your baby babbles or makes noises when you sign.
- Your baby makes movements with their hands as if attempting to sign.
- Your baby engages with signing material like musical videos and flashcards.
Always keep in mind that each little one has a distinct pace and style of learning. Try different approaches until you discover the one that works best for your baby.
Once a baby has mastered two or three signs you will begin to see very quick progress on how they communicate. Every Monday we share our baby sign language stories on our Facebook page. Join us and tell us about your progress.
We are all wired for survival. This natural proclivity makes it challenging when it comes to teaching our babies social constructs such as sharing and taking turns. The power to possess is a natural part of the child’s growing awareness. Don’t be surprised if among the first words your toddler verbalizes are posesive terms such as “mine”.
Your baby will develop attachments to things and persons having this attachment is essential and will serve as a foundation to healthy emotional bonds. Starting at six months you are likely to see signs of attachment that can easily be misinterrpreted as selfishness.
Your task as a parent is to gently guide baby in the understanding of social dynamics that demand sharing without impacting their need for attachment and the intrinsic value of this type of behavior.
When do we start teaching our babies how to share?
Teaching babies to share can take place from birth. By this we mean babies should be immersed into family settings where selflessness and love abounds. Use words like sharing and taking turns early on in life but don’t force little ones to share until they are ready.
How do we teach our babies to share?
Teaching how to share by example can take place in the context of meals and play. If you are eating something and you are ready to introduce baby to a new flavor say and sign “share” as you give your little one small bites of the new food item. Taking turns can be introduced early in life by incorporating it to games with props. Take a toy manipulate it, pass it along to baby and say and sign “taking turns” When baby starts loosing interest in the prop pick it up and say “my turn”.
When can I expect my baby to begin sharing?
We need to keep in mind that little ones are not capable of true empathy until later in life. For this reason sharing is a conditioned behavior associated to rewards. We cannot stress it enough that sharing and generosity are learned by example. Lead a generous life and your baby or toddler will imitate.
What are the best methods to teach sharing and taking turns?
Aside from a strong and constant example what works best to teach little ones to share is to incorporate the concept into games. Consider getting an egg timer and teaching your toddler about timed turns. If you are fortunate enough to have older siblings teaching share and taking turns might just be easier for you.
Our gift to you:
Baby Sign Language Flashcard for Share
Baby Sign Language Flashcard for Taking Turns
In tandem with teaching the signs for share and taking turns incorporate please and thank you to your child’s signing repertoire.
Many of our babies are quickly becoming active and inquisitive toddlers. As parents and educators we are to join our little ones side-by-side as they discover the world around them and learn new skills that will remain with them for a lifetime.
Both SAHM and working moms often find themselves in the kitchen preparing meals and snacks for the family. Keeping a toddler busy and engaged while taking care of food preparation can be challenging to say the least. Last week I received an email and photo from my friend Julie telling me how she has incorporated baby sign language to cooking time in her home. Here are Julie’s best tips. We hope they are helpful to you as we head into the holiday season and we are even more likely to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen.
Pick a Weekly Theme
Each week Julie picks a theme for her little girl. The theme is based around what Julie plans to cook or special occasions and holidays. To date they have worked on a unit focused on fruits, another one on snacks and most recently they are working on learning everything associated with a birthday.
Provide Hands-On Opportunities
This week Julie will be baking a cake. Her little girl will help and have several opportunities to taste and touch the ingredients. Because the focus is chocolate cake Julie has created a chocolate-themed scrapbook with wrappers from different brands of chocolate candy bars.
Create a Flashcard Wall
Julie prints full size flashcards from our free digital resources page relevant to her weekly theme and displays the flashcards on the refrigerator.
Use The Opportunity to Introduce Your Toddler to Letters
Julie keeps a magnetic alphabet handy and she is teaching her little girl the first letter for each of the words that they are learning how to sign together.
Practice Outside the Home
As part of using the kitchen experience as an opportunity to teach baby sign language Julie is also incorporating on-the-go contextual teaching. When Julie heads to the grocery store she is showing her little girl other instances related to the words of the week. They walk through the bakery and see different cakes or visit the baking goods section and Julie points to the boxed cake mix while signing cake.
Thank you Julie for writing to us to give us a progress report and to share excellent ideas to help toddlers expand their baby sign language vocabulary.
One of the most important tools we can give to our children is the ability to communicate their needs and wants effectively and in a socially appropriate way. By introducing our babies to signed communication we give them a tremendous headstart when it comes to fully understanding how language empowers us.
If you are the parent of a newborn, baby or toddler and you are trying to figure out how to get started with baby sign language and you are struggling with selecting your first words keep reminding yourself that the words you teach baby will be the ones baby will have available to use when you ask him to “use his words”. With this in mind consider working first on their top ten starter signs to set a strong foundation and set the stage for the learning of new signs.
Once your baby has mastered their first ten signs ask yourself the following questions:
What is our environmental context?
Pick your signs around the the things that surround you. If you live in a two-story home learning the word for stairs becomes more relevant to the daily needs of your child. If home is by the ocean you may want to include signs such as sand, fish, dolphin, etc.
What are your baby’s interests?
Early on your baby will show interests, some babies love fans, others love vacuum cleaners or rattles. Pay attention to the objects of their affection and consider prioritizing those signs to ease communication.
What are my baby’s specific needs?
If you have a little one with different needs you want to take into account their needs when picking and prioritizing their baby signs. If a baby is spending significant time at the hospital consider including a few relevant signs such as doctor or ache.
What are your baby’s tastes?
Observe your baby’s food preferences and begin incorporating signs that equip your little ones to ask for what they would prefer to eat. In doing this do keep in mind that it is up to you the parent to give baby a balanced nutrition.
Picking up new signs that make sense to your baby is a cornerstone of communication which will later become the basis for effective verbal communication that reduces meltdowns and meets the child at their point of need. Be intentional and consistent in teaching him and don’t forget to have fun!
Welcome fall! We are so glad you are here. Fall is one of our favorite seasons and we can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us. Shorter cooler days, two awesome family holidays and milder weather to spend outdoors are just some of the reasons we are stoked about autumn.
For many of you this will be a time of discovery as you introduce your babies and toddlers to new concepts and work on enriching their vocabulary. If your baby is between 12 months and 3 years of age consider the following fall activities:
- Photo Scavenger Hunt-Print several flashcards from common outdoor objects and let your toddler help you locate the objects in their surroundings. Take a photo of the object with your phone or point and shoot and print the photo for your little one to match with the baby sign language flashcard. Work on learning the sign while you learn to make connections between real objects and images.
- Crafts with Leaves-Spend time collecting leaves of different colors and teach baby to glue their leaves following an outline or pattern. You can create seasonally-themed images such as a turkey or a jack-o-lantern.
- Fun in the Kitchen-Let your baby help and become familiar with new seasonal dishes from cranberry-based snacks to pumpkin treats. You can tape relevant flashcards to your refrigerator and help your toddler learn about new foods.
Our favorite fall baby signs:
Let’s print, learn and share these new words. Join us on our Facebook community with your questions or to share your videos and photos of baby signing.