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Baby Sign Language

Hands-On Learning: Reasons Why Baby Sign Language Works

Hands-On Learning: Reasons Why Baby Sign Language Works

Many parents are now opting to teach their babies sign language as a means of communication even before they can speak. This method, known as baby sign language, involves teaching your baby a few simple signs to help them express their needs and desires. In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why baby sign language works and how it can benefit both you and your baby.

1. Early Communication

Babies usually start speaking their first words at around 12 months old. However, they begin to understand language much earlier, at around 6 months old. This means that they may have the desire to communicate with you but do not yet have the verbal skills to do so. Baby sign language provides a solution to this problem. By teaching your baby signs for simple words such as “milk,” “eat,” and “more,” you can facilitate early communication with them.

2. Reduces Frustration

Babies often become frustrated when they cannot communicate their needs and desires to their parents. This can lead to crying, tantrums, and other negative behaviors. Baby sign language can help to reduce this frustration by allowing babies to express themselves in a simple and effective way. By learning a few signs, your baby can communicate their needs such as “tired” or “hungry” without becoming frustrated.

3. Strengthens Bonding

The process of teaching your baby sign language requires close interaction and eye contact between you and your baby. This creates an opportunity for bonding and can help to build a strong parent-child relationship. It also provides a sense of accomplishment for both you and your baby when they are able to understand and use the signs you have taught them.

4. Boosts Cognitive Development

Studies have shown that babies who learn sign language have a higher IQ and better communication skills in the long run. This is because it helps to develop their cognitive and linguistic abilities at an early age. By using hand gestures to convey meaning, babies are able to make important connections between language and behavior. This can serve as a solid foundation for future cognitive development.

5. Increases Confidence

Learning sign language can help to boost your baby’s confidence and self-esteem. By mastering a new skill, they’ll feel more capable of exploring the world around them and developing new skills in the future. This can lead to a sense of empowerment and help them to become more independent as they grow older.


Teaching your baby sign language is a simple yet effective way to facilitate early communication and strengthen your bond with your child. It also provides several other benefits, including reduced frustration, cognitive development, and increased confidence. By using simple hand gestures, you can help your baby develop important linguistic and cognitive skills that will benefit them for years to come.

FAQ: Hands-On Learning – Reasons Why Baby Sign Language Works

What is baby sign language?

Baby sign language is a method of communication between parents and their babies. Instead of relying on verbal language, parents use gestures and signs to convey meaning. It is based on American Sign Language (ASL) and has been proven to be an effective way of improving communication between parents and their pre-verbal children.

When is the best time to start teaching my baby sign language?

The best time to start teaching your baby sign language is when they are around six months old. This is when they are starting to understand language and are becoming more aware of their surroundings. However, you can start teaching your baby sign language at any age, even if they are already over a year old.

What are the benefits of baby sign language?

The benefits of baby sign language are numerous. It can help improve communication between parents and their children, reduce frustration and crying, increase vocabulary and comprehension, and improve cognitive development. It can also lead to a deeper bond between parent and child and help promote early literacy.

What signs should I teach my baby first?

The signs you should teach your baby first are those that are most relevant to their daily life. Some good signs to start with include “milk,” “more,” “eat,” “all done,” “mommy,” and “daddy.” These signs will allow your baby to communicate their basic needs and wants, which can help reduce frustration and crying.

How do I teach my baby sign language?

To teach your baby sign language, you should start by using the sign consistently whenever you say a particular word. For example, when you say “milk,” make the “milk” sign. Repeat this consistently over time, and eventually, your baby will start to associate the sign with the word. You can also use books, videos, and apps to reinforce the signs and make learning more fun.

Do I need to be fluent in ASL to teach my baby sign language?

No, you do not need to be fluent in ASL to teach your baby sign language. You can start with just a few basic signs and build from there. As long as you are consistent in your use of the signs and keep it fun for your baby, they will start to pick it up quickly.

Is baby sign language a replacement for verbal language?

No, baby sign language is not a replacement for verbal language. It is a tool for improving communication between parents and their babies, but it should always be used in combination with verbal language. As your baby develops their verbal skills, they will rely less on signs and more on spoken words.

Will teaching my baby sign language delay their development of verbal language?

No, teaching your baby sign language will not delay their development of verbal language. In fact, research has shown that babies who learn sign language tend to develop language skills earlier than their peers and have a larger vocabulary by the time they are two years old.

Can I teach my baby sign language if they have a hearing impairment?

Yes, teaching your baby sign language can be an effective way of promoting communication if they have a hearing impairment. ASL is a visual language, so it is especially well-suited to children who are deaf or hard of hearing. In fact, many parents of children with hearing impairments have found that teaching sign language has helped them communicate with their child more effectively.

What is the best way to maintain consistency in sign language at daycare or with other caregivers?

The best way to maintain consistency in sign language at daycare or with other caregivers is to provide them with a list of the signs your baby knows and encourage them to use them consistently. You can also provide them with books or materials that reinforce sign language, and remind them to be patient and consistent in using signs with your baby.

What should I do if my baby isn’t picking up on sign language?

If your baby isn’t picking up on sign language, try to be patient and persistent. Every baby learns at their own pace, and some may take longer to pick up on signs than others. Try to make learning fun and engaging, and consistently use the signs throughout the day. You can also try using different teaching methods, such as books or videos, to reinforce the signs and make learning more fun.

Do I need to continue using sign language when my baby starts speaking?

No, as your baby starts speaking, they will naturally rely less on sign language. However, some parents choose to continue using sign language as a means of reinforcing communication and vocabulary. This can be especially useful for children who are visual learners or who are learning multiple languages.

Related Products: Benefits of Baby Sign Language

The use of baby sign language is becoming increasingly popular amongst parents, as it provides an opportunity for babies to communicate their thoughts and needs before they are able to verbally express themselves. If you are interested in teaching your baby sign language, here are some related products that can help:

1. Baby Sign Language Book:

A comprehensive book on baby sign language can be a useful resource for parents. These books provide an in-depth explanation of the benefits of baby sign language, along with step-by-step instructions on how to teach your baby different signs.

2. Educational Toys:

There are various educational toys that can help your baby learn sign language. These toys are designed to keep babies engaged and entertained while introducing them to the basics of sign language. Some popular educational toys include sign language flashcards, alphabet blocks with sign language symbols, and interactive games.

3. DVDs and Videos:

If you prefer a more visual approach, DVDs and videos can be a great way to introduce your baby to sign language. There are many educational videos available that teach basic signs and help your baby develop their communication skills. These videos can also be a helpful tool for parents who are new to sign language themselves.

4. Baby Sign Language Classes:

If you want to learn more about baby sign language and interact with other parents and babies, taking a baby sign language class can be a great option. These classes provide a supportive and social environment that can help parents and babies learn together.

5. Signing Apps:

In today’s digital age, there are many signing apps available for smartphones and tablets. These apps can be a convenient and fun way to supplement your baby’s sign language learning. Some popular signing apps include Baby Sign and Learn, Signing Time, and ASL Kids.

6. Baby Signing Dictionary:

A baby signing dictionary can be a useful reference guide for parents who want to expand their baby’s sign language vocabulary. These dictionaries provide clear and concise illustrations of different signs, along with descriptions of how to perform them correctly.

In conclusion, there are many products available that can help parents teach their babies sign language. Whether you prefer a traditional book, interactive toy, or digital app, there are many options to choose from. By investing in these products, you can give your baby an early boost in communication skills and help them express themselves with confidence.

Pros & Cons of Baby Sign Language


  • Improved Communication: With the use of baby sign language, babies can communicate their needs and wants before they are able to speak, reducing their frustration and decreasing tantrums. It also strengthens the bond between baby and caregiver.
  • Earlier Language Acquisition: Baby sign language helps babies develop language skills more quickly than those who do not use sign language. They learn to associate words with hand movements, making it easier for them to understand and use language when they start speaking.
  • Enhanced Cognitive Development: Studies have shown that learning sign language can enhance cognitive development in babies. Sign language requires the use of both hemispheres of the brain, which can improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.
  • Fun and Engaging: Learning sign language can be a fun and interactive activity for babies and their caregivers. Sign language songs, games, and books can be used to reinforce learning and make it enjoyable for both parties.
  • Cons:

  • Limited Application: Baby sign language is not a universal language and can only be used between the baby and the caregiver who knows the signs. It may not be useful in group settings or with individuals who do not know the signs.
  • Time and Effort: Teaching sign language to a baby can be time-consuming and requires consistent effort. It may also require additional research to learn the signs and how to use them effectively.
  • Potential Confusion: If the signs are not used consistently or are unclear, it can lead to confusion for the baby and delay language acquisition. It is important to use the correct signs consistently and reinforce them regularly.
  • Not a Replacement for Speech: Baby sign language should not replace the development of spoken language. It should be used as a supplement to enhance communication skills and promote language acquisition.

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