• Mikaela Sabourin

7 Basic Signs To Teach Your Baby

What if there was a way to know what your baby wanted before they could even talk? Baby sign can help! Based on American Sign Language (ASL), baby sign takes key words from your child’s daily routine and turns them into physical gestures for parents and babies to sign to one another.

WHY SHOULD I USE SIGNS WITH MY BABY?

Baby signs are a great way to promote early communication with your little ones. Before they’re able to fully form words on their own, signs can give babies a way to be understood, making their wants and needs clearer to you. Toddlers can benefit from signs too as they learn to associate words with the signs they were taught to learn their meaning faster.


WILL MY BABY HAVE TROUBLE LEARNING TO SPEAK?

Incorporating signs into your baby’s learning only has the potential to help their language acquisition, not hinder it. It allows you to become more aware of their efforts to communicate. While further research is needed, one particular study in 2013 taught parents 200 signs they could choose from for their children who ranged from 6 to 29 months. The researchers found that the training enhanced the children’s development in many areas, including communication, social skills, fine motor skills, and more.


HOW DO I GET STARTED?

The ideal age to start teaching signs to your baby is between 6 to 9 months, or later if their language development is behind for their age. Whenever you’re interacting with your baby and one of the topics comes up, such as giving them a bite of food, you can say the word “food” and make the sign as well. Eventually, rather than asking yes or no questions, you can give your child options, such as “Do you want food or milk?”, and they should be able to respond with the sign of their choice.


You can start to add more signs whenever you feel comfortable. It’s common for babies not to form the signs perfectly, since their motor functions are still developing, but anything that resembles the sign should be encouraged to keep them engaged.


7 SIGNS TO START WITH:


1. More


2. Food / Eat

3. Milk

4. Drink

5. All Done (there are two forms of ‘all done’, this is is one)

6. Potty

7. Sleep

If you’ve taught your baby signs, or if you plan to, let us know in the comments! If you have any questions about communicating with your child, don’t hesitate to contact us.


References


11 Tips to Improve a Child's Communication Using Signs. (2018, September 26). Retrieved from https://leader.pubs.asha.org/do/10.1044/11-tips-to-improve-a-childs-communication-using-signs/full/


Baby Sign Language Dictionary. (2020, February 29). Retrieved from https://www.babysignlanguage.com/dictionary/?v=3e8d115eb4b3


Mueller, V., Sepulveda, A., & Rodriguez, S. (2013). The effects of baby sign training on child development. Early Child Development and Care, 184(8), 1178–1191. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2013.854780

Andalusia Speech Therapy has two Toronto speech therapy clinics and offers speech teletherapy to anywhere in the world. Contact us more for information.

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