The timing of learning sign language

In honor of the Baby Sign Language class I am going to start teaching at the end of the month (if more people sign up!!!), this month’s Wordless Wednesday is devoted to that topic. See last week’s post about WHY to sign with your child.

I am also combining Wordless Wednesday with Works for me because I was up late watching Gilmore Girls I am really good at multi-tasking.

When should I start signing with my child?

Babies and Sign Language says:

The fact is that Baby Sign Language can be taught as soon as parents are able to make and keep consistent eye contact with their infant. Teaching babies sign language requires your infant to be able to focus on the hand movement and have the cognitive skills to connect a gesture with a particular item.

A good way to judge when an infant is readyto begin using Baby Sign Language is when he or she can understand and use most simple hand motions. These include gestures for words like “hi” or “bye”, or Baby nodding head to mean yes, or shaking it to mean no.

How long will it take for my child to begin to use sign language?

Rachel at Signing Times states:

It really depends on when you start. If you start baby sign language with your newborn, they may not reciprocate until 8-14 months old. If you start with your 2 year old, they may respond immediately or it may take a couple of months. If your child has physical, mental or developmental delays, take that into consideration. My daughter Lucy had no words and no signs and showed no interest in communication for two long years. Her doctors did not expect that to change. We didn’t give up, we continued exposing her to sign and speech, and suddenly she had a language explosion in speech AND sign!

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  1. FYI – it’s entirely probable that he does weigh more than your 2.5 year old. He’s around 30 lbs.

  2. We used sign language with our first (now 2yrs 2mo old and VERY capable of basic signs) and are vamping up again for our 6mo old — I just can’t figure out why I can’t find the “official” ASL sign for the word, diaper — *Ü*

  3. I have been signing with my dd since she was a newborn. It took a LONG time for her to sign back to me. She was about 10 mns when she had her first sign “music.” I love that she can communicate with me when she see something or wants something that she can not verbally say yet. Hopefully you get enough students for your class!

  4. I did some signs with my boys (my girls talked really young and have not taken a breath yet!). My oldest was OK with it but I have been impressed with Spanky and his signs. Thanks for the reminder on this!

  5. I used to babysit for a couple that used baby sign language, and it really worked out well for them. I plan to use it when I have children.

  6. we keep meaning to teach our girl sign language, but I never seem to have the time or energy to just sit down and do it. I really need to, we have like 4 DVD of “signing time”!

  7. We started signing with Nathan when he was 9 months old. He signed back at 10 months. Now at 2.5 years, he has more than 125 signs and we love it!

    I have just started signing with our youngest (turning 1 on Saturday). Hopefully he’ll start signing back soon. It is so rewarding when they communicate back!

  8. J knows milk!!! We watch the Signing Times video every day. He gets milk and eat. I think this is a great idea!

  9. Our whole family has recently started learning sign language. That includes our 14 month old. I am very happy with how much we are all learning. I can’t wait until Ms. Giggles (14 mo) signs back to me. 🙂

  10. baby signing worked for us BIG TIME!!!! I so believe in this!

    Thanks for sharing!

    PS – for the commenter looking for diaper – we used the sign “change” make two loose fists, bring knuckles together and then apart, then twist hands a little and repeat.

    My first son really took to the signing and even today, at 4 he signs to his baby sister and calls it baby hand talk.

  11. There are a couple moms in our playgroup who do this. It seems great!

  12. I think signing is great for kids! D knows a little bit and uses it alot its great:)

  13. I wish I could sign up for your class. I alwasy say I am going to do signs and then never get around to it.

  14. Our son learned his first sign at 10 months, he’s now 2 1/2 and knows many different signs and i feel like they help us even now in communicating even though he speaks quite well. I look forward to beginning it with our 7 month old daughter soon.

  15. We started signing with our first around 6 months, when she really seemed like she was paying attention more. I think she started using a sign or two around 10 months to a year. It was *so* nice for her to be able to communicate with us before she was able to speak.

  16. A friend of mine taught her kids baby sign language and it was very positive and helpful communication tool. I’m all for it.

  17. I wish I would have read this years ago. I tried signing with my son, since he didn’t seem to want to talk, but gave up after just a few short weeks.

  18. I love Signing Time!! Paige and I learned to sign with her DVDs. Paige knowing signs before words was so helpful. Once she dropped her bear out of her crib and was upset. She was able to sign bear and point right to it, and I knew right away what she needed. It was wonderful. I also believe that it helped her speech development as she learned very early about communication and naming items. It has been wonderful. I wish I could take your class – I am always interested to learn more sign.

  19. I wish I’d known more about baby sign language when my boys were babies. If I have another (no plans to! but ya never know) I’ll definitely be trying sign language. I’ve always been interested in sign language, but I haven’t gotten around to learning it yet.

    I love the picture. I assume the man is making the sign for “food” or “eat”? The baby looks worried… Like she’s thinking the man might eat her or something.

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