Top Ten Starter Signs

When first starting out with baby sign language, you will want to do just a few signs that you repeat over and over.  Once your baby learns these first few signs you can expand your repertoire. You want to start out with signs that you can use frequently and that represent something compelling to your baby.

A. Friends & Family Signs

Signs referring to important people in your baby’s life are early favorites. Not only will your baby love signing them, adults love teaching baby their sign – so you will get help from your partner, siblings, and relatives.

A1. Mom

Mom in Baby Sign Language
Mom in Sign Language

Mommy is signed by tapping your thumb on your chin. In ASL female signs are usually below the nose, and male signs above the nose. See video …

A2. Dad

Dad in Baby Sign Language
Dad in Sign Language

Dad is signed by tapping your thumb on your forehead. The signs for mom and dad are similar, however, the mom sign is performed on the chin and the dad sign is performed higher up on the forehead. See video …

if you have friends or family that spend a lot of time with your baby, they are perfect collaborators to help teach your baby another sign.  Have them sign the appropriate sign when they approach your child. For example, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, grandmother, or grandfather.

A3. Grandmother

Grandmother in Baby Sign Language
Grandmother in Sign Language

Grandmother is similar to mother. You tap your thumb on your chin, but make a double motion away from your face. See video …

A4. Grandfather

Grandfather in Baby Sign Language
Grandfather in Sign Language

Grandfather in ASL is similar to father. You tap your thumb on your forehead, but make a double motion instead of a single motion. See video …

Pets are of great interest to babies. You can capitalize on this natural interest, so if you have a family pet these make great starter signs.

A5. Dog

Dog in Baby Sign Language
Dog in Sign Language

Dog looks like you are calling a dog, by tapping your hand on your thigh. See video …

A6. Cat

Cat in Baby Sign Language
Cat in Sign Language

Cat looks like you are a cat, outlining your whiskers. See video …

B. Food Signs

Babies love to eat, so start with some signs associated with favorite foods. Learning these signs is very useful, letting baby signal that they are hungry in a constructive way without fussing.

B1. Milk

Milk in Baby Sign Language
Milk in Sign Language

Milk is signed by making opening and closing your hand, like you are milking a cow. This is a very useful sign for babies who are breast feeding or on formula. See video …

B2. Eat

Eat in Baby Sign Language
Eat in Sign Language

Eat looks like you are putting food to your mouth, with you thumb to your fingers. Eat is particularly useful for babies on solids. See video …

B3. More

More in Baby Sign Language
More in Sign Language

More is signed by tapping your finger tips together. This is a very versatile sign useful in many contexts, and is often the first sign learned. See video …

B4. All Done

All Done in Baby Sign Language
All Done in Sign Language

All Done is signed by twisting your hands back and forth. It allows baby to tell you they are finished eating (without flinging food). See video …

You can also select starter signs associated with one of your baby’s favorite things or notable sensations. If a child has a favorite toy, such as a rubber duck or teddy bear. A child that enjoys story time would enjoy learning book. Diaper is also very useful for babies that dislike having a soiled diaper and want a way to communicate when they need a change. Finally, happy is a great celebratory sign that you can do with your baby after you have had a good giggle together.

Get The Kit & Sign Smarter

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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

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baby sign language kit

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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

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69 Responses to “Top Ten Starter Signs”

  1. Jeni

    Thank you so much!!!! Your site has helped my husband,my daughter & I VERY MUCH!!! I started teaching my daughter signs @ 3 months old. She is now 13 months & knows 22 signs, AMAZING! Your site has helped me to communicate with her, especially while teething. I don’t know what I would’ve done without your help.

  2. Rachael

    My baby has started signing just a few months ago- he loves it! Great website!

  3. Karla

    Hi, I have twins a boy and a girl and they are now seven months old. I was wondering if you can tell me if there are differences on the speed of learning between girls and boys when you are teaching baby sign language. My boy takes a little longer to learn.

    ADMIN – Hi Karla,

    Every child is different, but based on our experience the average girl learns sign language (and talking) a little faster than the average boy. There are plenty of exceptions. By the time they are in school the boys have usually caught up.

  4. Angela Silva

    My son is 7 weeks old. Is it too soon to begin teaching him the signs?

    ADMIN – Hi Angela,

    Starting earlier is always better, it models to the child that signing is one of the way adults communicate. Just be aware that it will take him a while before he is likely to start signing back.

  5. Jessica

    I just came across this site and I am so thrilled. I have a daughter with a sensorineuro hearing loss who wears hearing aids and I am really enthusiatic about learning sign language. I plan to visit this site every day and learn a few new words at a time so I can teach her :) Thank you for the free video images they are awsome!

  6. Jill

    Thank you so much. We have a daughter with suspected hearing loss. This is a great primer to help me teach her to communicate while we wait to for her test to be ran.

  7. Delaina

    This is a great site. We just learned my granddaughter has a speech problem and the therapist recommended sign language, imagine my panic. Your site is great and I have already picked up several signs myself to work with her. It is a great for beginners who have no idea what they are doing.

  8. angel @ gunner

    I have a 16 month old. He knows the all done sign. Do you think he to young still. He gets mad that he can’t say what he wants so please some one help me. Thanks for the time, Gunner will be happy if I can get what he wants for once….

    Hi Angel,

    Speech therapists often use baby sign language as a bridge to talking. You can certainly teach him some more signs. Since he already knows all done, and since he is older, he will catch on fast. I would do some very practical signs such as mom, dad, more, eat, and water. And then work on some fun signs around a theme (e.g. use some animal flash cards).

  9. alexandria

    this is the most helpful site i have ever found on sign language. i love that as i teach my daughter to do sign language, i too am able to learn. thank you so much for providing this wonderful site.

  10. guam

    Thank you so much, I have bookmarked this page.

    My wife and I are beginning to teach our five month old in hopes of alleviating some of his frustrations when he needs something.

  11. Chris

    Thank you for having this very nice clean and free site, its so great! I am a father-to-be, I hope to learn and prepare with my wife so that our child may have every advantage possible in this world.

  12. Jamie

    This is just what I have been looking for to help communicate with my girls easier. Thank you

  13. MISTI

    This website is great, My kids are having so much fun learning to sign! the free pictures and video’s are so helpful and I was suprized how much I have learned in such a short time :)

  14. cindy

    thank you ! i love it. do you have a poster board you can email me?

    ADMIN – Hi Cindy,

    Take a look at the chart section of the site for a printable wall-chart of the most common baby signs.

  15. Jodi

    thank you for your website. So helpful and saves me a trip to the library. I have 2 kids and babysit 2 more, so this will help tons! Thank you so much!

  16. Janet

    Thank you!!! I have a 10 weeks baby and this will help me to communicate with him. Great and practical.

  17. Becky

    Thank you so much for having free pitcures on the web. I am a preschool teacher and the kids love it
    this is great

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