How To Adapt Baby Sign Language For Your Baby

6 Sep

Today I have guest post from Misty Weaver at Baby Sign Language. I’ve had some people mention they sign with their babies, but I never really thought I could do it. Their site is a great learning tool for those who don’t know much about signing. I love learning new ways to help my baby develop, as well as myself!


Baby sign language is all about communication between you and your baby. No two individuals are alike – Mommies or babies – so don’t be afraid to adapt baby signing to make it work for you. As long as you and baby understand the signs, that’s all that matters! To make baby signing work for you and your baby, follow these five steps…

  1. Have fun
  2. Repeat, repeat, repeat
  3. Be encouraging
  4. Learn new words
  5. Adapt to suit yourself

1. Have fun
Baby sign language should be fun – that is your number one goal. To adapt Baby Sign Language to your needs, find ways to include signing in all the fun activities you do every day. Sing your signs, tell stories with them, sign in the car, sign with play, sign when shopping. Create a warm, fun environment for using baby sign language – your baby will begin to sign to you far sooner if he finds signing fun.

2. Repeat, repeat, repeat
Repetition is the key to baby sign language. Babies need exposure to and repetition of a new sign for around two months before they will start to use it themselves. Start with your favorite signs and repeat them as often as you can  – while still having fun, of course.

3. Be encouraging
It’s important to notice and encourage your baby whenever he tries to make a sign. He is attempting to communicate with you, and even if you don’t know what he’s trying to say be sure to give him loads of encouragement with good eye contact, a positive tone of voice and lots of hugs and kisses. Praise him just for trying. When you do understand his efforts, respond by letting him know you ‘get him’. This builds his confidence to try again.

4. Learn new words
Once you and baby have mastered the basics you can start to expand your signing vocabulary. Introduce any new signs slowly, and remember to have fun, repeat and encourage all the time. It’s best to stick to one group of signs at a time, such as food, colors, emotions, or animals. Once these have been mastered, move on to a new group. Don’t forget to use the signs you’ve already learned while introducing new ones.

5. Adapt to suit
Remember – Mommy knows best. If you or baby find a sign difficult, or something doesn’t work for you, it’s fine to adapt Baby Sign Language to suit. Make up your own signs. The point of baby signing is to improve communication and give your little one the tools to understand and tell you what he wants or how he feels. It’s your language – who cares if no one else understands it? Adapt Baby Signing to fit your needs, and remember to have fun along the way.

Misty Weaver

Chief Editor, Baby Sign Language


One Response to “How To Adapt Baby Sign Language For Your Baby”

  1. alanadeleonlott September 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Thanks for posting this! We started doing some signing yesterday and so far I get a blank stare! He will come around I hope. I have friends that have used sign for their babies and they say it cuts back on the crazy freak outs because they can tell you what they want. Here’s to hoping!

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