I found another online video dictionary for lots of baby signs at Baby Signing Time Site. I looked at a couple and thought they were well done, and it seems like they cover a large number of baby signs with the dictionary. I wish the list of signs wasn’t just a long one that you have to scroll through to find the word you want the sign for, so it may not be that easy to use on a cell phone as the baby sign dictionary from Baby Sign Language I wrote about in an earlier post.
Disclaimer: this company sells materials for parents on baby sign and I am not familiar with them so I can’t say how good they are. This same company makes videos for older kids teaching sign language that I did have when my kids were young and they enjoyed them — they are called Signing Time and they were fun and the production quality was good.
There is a terrific resource available for baby signs — a baby sign language dictionary that shows a video of a particular sign as well as a diagram showing the sign as well. The dictionary covers over 600 of the common signs you might use with your child and can be found at BabySignLanguage.com.
People do ask me how readily babies pick up sign language and how easy is it for a parent to understand their baby’s signs.
In my experience, our babies started signing around 6 – 7 months, and by a year both my children had a fair amount of signs they knew and we understood. I would guess 30 – 50 signs or so by then, and understood many more.
I never thought to make a video of them signing at this age, and while I did capture their signing on a few videos, they don’t really give an idea of the breadth of their signing.
So I went online to search, and found this video showing a one year old doing all sorts of signs.
Disclaimer: This mom has her own course for baby signing she sells and a book, but I don’t have any experience with these materials so this isn’t an endorsement of them.
But I liked this video since it does show how babies can communicate clearly through sign language at one year — which is such a wonderful thing for a parent and child to experience.
One of the things I did with my children that they loved was to sing and sign songs to them. You can incorporate the signs you learn into the songs you sing with your child, and I also showed a few of the songs my children loved in some of the videos in the Baby Sign Course (you will see these videos below):
Video #1 – Signs To Start With starting at the 5:19 mark (the counting song and then a song I use for distracting a child (when they are fussy, etc) “Did you ever see a fish …”),
and on Video #2 – Farm Animals at 4:50 “Old MacDonald Had A Farm”.
The goal of signing with your baby is to communicate better with your child, and when your child is learning to sign they will often sign back in ways that are a bit different than how you sign. So while I think it is important for you to sign correctly and the same way every time, it is fine that your child may sign back in a more relaxed or shorthand manner.
For example, the sign for dog is to slap your leg and then snap your fingers (as though you were calling a dog). When our child first signed dog, she just hit her leg a lot — and that was great. She also generalized this sign at first to cover all sorts of animals, and that is common as well to. We would just say to her, yes, that is a (whatever the animal really was, a squirrel, bird, etc), and make the correct sign for that animal so she would begin to pick up on the different signs for different animals.
I know that often you may find that your hands are occupied, which makes signing with your child a bit more challenging. So in these cases, just sign with one hand as best as you can. For example, the baby sign for cat is two hands tracing whiskers on your face. But if you only have one hand free and you see a cat, you can just use one hand to trace the whiskers as you say “cat”. This is actually the ASL sign for cat, but when signing with babies, I find it’s more effective and iconic to use both hands.
This is among the most frequently asked questions I get, and my answer is always that it can’t hurt to start as early as you can.
I know having a baby can be overwhelming, and you may not have the energy to do baby signing right after your baby is born. I was lucky since I already knew sign language, and so I didn’t have to learn anything to be able to start signing with my baby.
I’ve seen some places that say to start signing with your baby at 4 months, but I started at birth and I do think if you can start earlier you get a head start on imparting this to your baby.
The most important thing, when you do feel you have it in you to start signing with your baby, is to use the signs consistently as you say the words or do the activity they describe. So every time you would ask your baby if they want “more”, you would sign “more” as well.
My daughters started signing back at 6 – 7 months, and I don’t think this is particularly unusual if you start signing early and often with your baby.
I’m Jane Rosenberg, and I am thrilled to be able to offer a free course on baby signing. I had learned sign language when I was studying speech language pathology at Gallaudet University, and spent 10 years working mainly with deaf children in schools. So I knew how powerful sign language can be, and was excited to try it with my babies.
I quickly found out I wasn’t the only one interested, and I started teaching baby signing to my new mom friends.
We all found that baby sign added so much to our lives with our small ones, and with my daughters it allowed me to understand their wants and needs way before they were able to verbalize them.
And even more it allowed me to hear their thoughts, which I found really amazing.
Since my experience, as well as my friends, was so positive, I decided to make a video course on Baby Signing. And while I thought about it as a business, I really just wanted to make it accessible for anyone — so I decided to offer it for free.
The only thing I ask is that if you like the videos, it would be great if you would give us a link and/or a social share.
And to get you started, here is the first video in our Baby Sign course, and it is called “Signs To Start With”, and has 12 of the signs our family started with our babies.
The full Baby Sign course has 11 Videos, and they are all available for Free. Here are links to all 11 videos in the Baby Sign Course: