Baby sign language: everything you need to know

by BabyYumYum
Baby sign language everything you need to know
Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is baby sign language? Why should you teach your baby sign language? Will it delay their language development? We spoke to Amanda from Baby Babble, who teaches baby sign language to little ones and their caregivers, to answer all these questions, and more.

What is baby sign language?

No, it’s not just a way to teach a hearing impaired baby how to communicate – all babies (and parents) can learn baby sign language. In short, baby sign language a way for your baby to communicate before they are able to speak.

Baby sign language involves introducing your little one to a simple system of signs that relate to everyday objects and commands like ‘milk’, ‘more’ or ‘finished’. For example, clenching and unclenching a fist to request milk. As your baby becomes familiar with the signs, they’ll be able to use them to communicate their needs with you.

Why would you teach your child baby sign language?

On average, babies start talking between the ages of 18 months and 2 years because that’s when the muscles they need for speech have developed and strengthened enough, but they’re able to understand what we’re saying way before that.

Teaching a child baby sign language gives them a chance to communicate while their bodies (their ability to talk) catch up with their brains (their ability to understand)!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Should I give my baby a dummy? Advice from a paediatrician

What are the benefits of baby sign language?

There are a number of benefits to teaching your not-yet-verbal little one baby sign language, for both you and them!

Increases bonding: Being able to communicate effectively with your baby isn’t just good for your relationship, it’s particularly beneficial for their relationship with secondary caregivers like grandparents or teachers because the parent isn’t required to be the ‘interpreter’.

Decreases frustration: It can be very frustrating for little ones when their caregivers don’t understand what they are trying to communicate.

Boosts confidence: When a baby can communicate their needs and wants then they feel more connected to the world around them and, thus, more confident.

Aids language development: Baby sign language is never silent – the sign is always accompanied by the spoken word so your little one is ‘seeing’ and hearing the word at the same time.

It’s multi-lingual: Signs remain the same no matter what language you’re speaking to your child, so they’ll be able to communicate their need to a caregiver even if they speak a different language.

How is baby sign language taught

When can I start baby sign language?

From when your baby is about four months old – although they’ll probably only start signing back from about 6 months. You can start any time up until your baby is about two and a half, especially if they’re a little later to start speaking, as baby sign language will help with frustration.

ALSO READ: These women were BRUTALLY honest about how their sex lives changed after having a baby

Will using baby sign language delay my child’s speech and language development?

No! Because using baby sign language with your baby also involves talking to them, it should actually encourage them to speak when they’re ready.

How is baby sign language taught?

At Baby Babble, parents and their babies meet every week for an hour. During the lesson you can expect to learn fun songs and signs based on that week’s theme. They also offer support during the following week by video link or text messaging for any help you may need with the signs you’ve learnt.

Visit Baby Babble‘s website to find out more or to book a class. You can visit their Instagram page by clicking here.

Related Articles