top of page

Sign Language


Using some simple signs while speaking with infants and toddlers, starting as young as 6-8 months, is an excellent way to enable them to communicate before they can speak. Whether they ask for food when they're hungry, tell you when they need their diaper changed, or simply identify objects in their environment, preverbal children love to participate in communication.

The Benefits of Signing


  • Signing allows your infant to clearly communicate specific thoughts.

  • Signing reduces frustration for your baby - and for you!

  • Signing gives you a window into your child's mind and personality.

  • Signing won't delay verbal language development - in fact, it may accelerate it. Research shows that babies who sign usually start to talk sooner and develop larger vocabularies than non-signing babies.

  • Signing reinforces verbal language by adding visual and kinesthetic emphasis to auditory input.

  • Signing children tend to be more interested in books.

  • Signing builds on babies' natural tendency to use gestures.

10 Suggestions for Signing Success


  • Choose 3-5 signs that are meaningful to you and your baby. Learn the signs and be comfortable with using them (recommended 1st signs are "MILK", "MORE" and "EAT").

  • Make the sign for the word as you say it. "You are crying! Do you want some MILK?"

  • Make eye contact with your baby as you sign and make the sign as close to your face as possible. Until your baby starts signing back, you may want to repeat or slightly exaggerate the motion used in the sign. Babies' eyes are drawn toward movement.

  • Babies learn through repetition. Invite family members, childcare providers and friends to sign with you.

  • Never pressure babies to sign or make them feel that you are disappointed when they don't sign. Just keep signing and be patient.

  • When your baby does sign back, affirm that you understand - and congratulate your baby on her/his achievement!

  • Children will not always make the sign correctly. Accept your baby's approximations and continue to model the sign as it should be made. Eventually, most children will learn to form the sign correctly.

  • Include signs in your life but don't "force feed" or aggressively teach signs. Let signing occur naturally. Resist the temptation to show-off your children or ask them to display their new talents.

  • Make it FUN! Enjoy the deep sense of connection you will feel with your baby when you begin to have meaningful two-way conversations.

  • BE PATIENT! Your baby will learn to sign, but at his/her own pace.

bottom of page