Baby Sign Language

When I was pregnant with Livi, we went to a couple of childbirth and baby care classes. During one class they mentioned baby sign language. I found the idea interesting but was not convinced. They recommended to start teaching at around 6 months.

Enter Livi at 6 months old; we were still in full blown survival mode and I had more pressing issues on my mind than baby sign language.

When Livi was about 1 year old, we came across a board book called Baby Signs. I liked the idea of using a board book to teach the signs and Livi seemed interested in the pictures, so we bought it.

I am glad we did. Livi loves the book. She loves looking at the pictures of the baby, pointing out things, and listening to me describe everything to her.

But most importantly, she is learning the signs along the way. It does not even take a lot of effort. A short time after showing her a new sign, she is able to use it on her own.

At the bottom of each page, there are small pictures showing the sign and a short description of how to move your hands.

It is amazing how fast she is learning and how much fun she has using the signs. She gets so excited when we acknowledge what she is signing and give her what she is asking for.

At the same time, she is learning to say new words in record speed. Just this weekend we were talking to her grandparents via Skype and out of the blue she repeated a word they used, one we had never said to her before.

Livi is not a patient or calm toddler and gets frustrated easily. Not surprisingly, not being able to tell us what she wants frustrates her immensely. Since she has been learning signs, this has also gotten better.

I am really glad we decided to teach her a few signs. It is amazing to watch her use them to “talk” to us and it is so much fun to see her excitement when we understand her.

Did you teach your baby sign language? What was your experience?

14 comments on “Baby Sign Language

  1. Oster's Mom says:

    Awesome! So glad to hear Livi loves sign language and this book is really cool. I did try it with Oster (when he was about 3 months) but I became a little lazy. I used “more”, “milk”, and “thank you” for about a month. And then I just stopped. I know it works well, maybe I tried it too early for him. I’ll check this book out from our library and introduce it again. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    My brother used sign language religiously on my nephew. I remember being at his house one day and my nephew wanted more milk. He kept signing “more” “please” and “milk” (quite rapidly) and stomping his feet. It was seriously the quietest temper tantrum I have ever witnessed.

    • hnMom says:

      Yes, give it another try. The book doesn’t have a lot of signs and definitely not all the ones I want to teach Livi, but it is a good way to get started. Now that she is interested and likes signing to us, it is much easier to teach her other signs that are not in the book.

      Love the image of the quiet temper tantrum, that is hilarious. Somehow I don’t see that happening with Livi, but her excitement alone is wort the effort. It’s also a fun activity for both of us.

  2. We started signs with both our kids at around 6 months. I think it really helps with language acquisition! They obviously know what words mean and enjoy being able to communicate their own desires, even when the whole “forming words with the mouth” thing isn’t working out. Little Guy picked up the word “more” really fast while eating! Now he says MOMOMOMOMO while furiously signing…haha.

    • hnMom says:

      Ha, that is awesome, thanks for sharing. It really does seem to make a huge difference. I am glad we finally were able to try it with Livi.

  3. Deni Lyn says:

    I think this is great. We haven’t shown Mac any signs but he’s pretty easy to troubleshoot. If I had a child that was easily frustrated like little Livi, I would absolutely done so.

    I only really have one experience with baby sign language. . .I used to date this guy (who’s now my brother in law. Yes, my sister married my ex-boyfriend. . .but I digress) and he had twin nephews. Their parents taught them sign language. Then they REFUSED to interact with anyone else for the longest time! They would just sit in a corner and sign to one another for hours on end! At first it was adorable. But the older they got, it kinda’ became. . .well, weird! Ha.

    I’ve heard for other parents who love signing that “more” is a VERY popular word. 🙂

    • hnMom says:

      Yes, ‘more’ was one of the first signs she picked up. Right now, she is into ‘all done.’ She is definitely in her picky eater phase now.
      I didn’t know any babies or kids who used signs before I tried it with Livi. I just felt it could be beneficial to her considering her temperament. Thankfully, it worked out. 🙂

  4. Yes, we used baby sign language and my kiddo picked up a few signs. At first I was hesitant because he wasn’t talking yet, but then I kept reading research that signing doesn’t delay it and in fact helps it. So I’d like to think that even though my toddler was delayed, who knows how much more delayed he would have been without signing. Also, signing helped him actually communicate and decreased his frustration.

    • hnMom says:

      Yes, it definitely decreases frustration. I would also like to think that signing helps with talking. As a matter of fact, Livi has been talking much more since we started signing. But whether it is because of using sign language or a coincidence, I don’t know and can’t know for sure.

  5. Hello I nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award” award.

  6. I’ve been thinking of giving sign language a go with Bubbs. Thanks so much for this post! I am totally going to look for the book. 🙂

    • hnMom says:

      My pleasure. It really is a great little book and worked like a charm. Teaching sign language can be a fun activity, especially ones they get the hang of it.

  7. 4eyedblonde says:

    I used sign with my son and it was awesome. My husband and I both appreciated the ability to communicate with him before he could talk. He never really told us anything we didn’t know, but having the ability to sign in order to confirm things really made it easier.

    I have just started to use sign with my daughter and I can’t believe how quickly they pick it up! It’s AMAZING! And SO exciting.

    Good luck and have fun!

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