Is There A Perfect Age When Babies Can Learn Sign Language?

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Babies begin learning while still in the womb. They hear the sounds, tones, and rhythms of language. However, learning a visual language such as sign language requires that the learner has clear vision, and has maturity enough to associate the gestures the baby sees with the activity they are engaged in or the object associated with the gesture. That learning process requires time for observation and repetitive activity that reinforces the observation and learning.

When To Teach Babies Sign Language?

Teaching a newborn sign language would be useless. But modeling and not “TEACHING” a baby sign language can begin around the 4th month. Parents can begin modeling the signs used in daily life as shown in my Baby Sign Language in 14 Days program. The idea is that you don’t teach your infant sign language, you include signs or model them as part of your daily language activity so that the baby just sees signs as a normal way to express yourself.

Your baby is being introduced to communication for the first time. That communication can include movement (signs) and sounds (words). That being said, the optimal situation is to have your baby see the movement that accompanies language from the onset.

The number of signs that you introduce to your baby depends entirely on you. You can start with as few or as many as you wish.

When Do Babies Start Signing

Never restrict the number of signs you show your baby any more than you would worry about overloading them with the number of words you say. Your baby’s ability to learn signs is limitless, and they will focus on those they find valuable in their world.

No matter how enthused you are, they will begin using the signs they want to use when they are ready. What you are providing, by showing them a lot of signs, is a broader menu to choose from as language begins to take hold.

How To Say MORE In Sign Language

The first and most common of all signs a baby learns is the sign for MORE. The sign for MORE in sign language is just the two hands coming together and the fingertips touch. The sign is easy to make and can be used to indicate the baby wants more food, milk, hugs, or whatever is happening that brings joy to the baby.

As I mentioned, you should not TEACH your baby…my system is based on MODELING. You want your child to discover the signs and draw on their internal resources to communicate and express themselves. That process is where much of their confidence will originate, not to mention it will also enhance the bonding experience through improved communication.

How To Teach Baby Sign Language

My 14 Day learning method is designed to get parents modeling signs at EVERY opportunity. That means adding the signs to your daily routines as you narrate your daily activities to your child.

Until signing becomes second nature (and it will), the best way to remember to sign is to have reminders placed around the house at locations where your daily events take place.  I have posters in the back of my Complete Guide to Baby Sign Language that are grouped by activity and can be taken out and hung around the house as reminders.

Many parents ask me, “when does a baby begin to sign back”? This depends on many factors, including the child’s personality, the environment in which they are raised, and the level of exposure to the signs.

I have worked with several families whose children were using 100 signs by their first birthday after just a few months of signing. However, others reported that their babies thrived using between 12 and 25 signs by the first year. Most children seem to acquire and regularly use between 20 and 50 signs before speech takes over. However, those same children will understand all the signs that have been modeled. (The parents are the ones who often use a sign but then stop using it and forget it. Then, they are surprised months later when the baby uses the sign that the parents forgot, and the parents have to re-learn it to keep up with the baby!)

The Benefits of Baby Sign Language

Many benefits of baby sign language are evident. There aren’t any disadvantages of baby sign language that I have encountered in my 34+ years at the center of the baby signing revolution.


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