You are here

Baby Sign Language: 21 Words and Signs to Know

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: More
    According to Nancy Cadjan, President of signbabies.com, a line of books, seminars, DVDs, games and flash cards that advocate baby sign language, babies are developmentally ready for their parents to start signing to them after 4 months old, but won't be able to sign back until 7-9 months, when they have better coordination.

    What to help give your little one a head start? Learn how Babies Can Be Trained to Concentrate.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Done
    This sign will help babies transition from one activity to the next. It also helps Mommy explain that something is all gone.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Sleep
    Signing to baby that it's time to sleep is a good way to start the bedtime routine. Even better: when she lets you know she's tired by using the sign.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Medicine
    This sign comes into handy when babies are teething and want to tell you they want medicine to ease their pain.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Eat
    Stay consistent with your signs. Use them frequently—every time you engage in the activity or say the word. When you're eating, use the "eat" sign and say, "We're going to EAT. Do you want to EAT? Let's EAT another bite of cereal."

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Milk
    When signing, remember that context is important. Sign "milk" while feeding your baby a bottle or while nursing—not when you're doing other things.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Change
    "Change" is an important sign because it gives your baby a heads up that you're transitioning from play to diapering—something he probably won't want to do. Signing "change" will help them understand the toy break is temporary. When you're done, sign "done" and say, "We are DONE," so that your baby knows changing time is over. According to Cadjan, many parents report that when they use the "change" and "done" signs, the struggle of diaper time goes away.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Help
    Should you step in to help, or let baby figure things out on his own? This will let him communicate when he needs your aid—or that he wants to help you.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Bath
    Teach your baby words he'll be able to practice often, like "bath," since you do it every day.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Play
    Don't worry about teaching all the signs at once; just choose a few to start. When you think your baby is getting the hang of it and signing back, you can slowly add more signs to his repertoire.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Banana
    Teaching your baby signs for foods can help you get an idea of his favorites. "Banana," a common first food, is a good one to try.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Water
    Don't expect the signs to look perfect. Babies might do the signs a bit differently, since their fine motor skills are not as advanced as yours are. If you think your baby is trying to sign something, help her out. Say, "Oh! Are you signing WATER? Do you want some WATER?" and continue to make the sign correctly.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Book
    Foster an early love of reading with the simple sign for "book."

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Dog
    Many signs are easy to remember since they mimic a motion you might already be using. Patting your leg to call a dog is instinctive, making this sign feel very natural.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Cat
    Maintain eye contact whenever you sign to make sure your baby sees your hands clearly. This is key to helping her make the connection between the sign and the word.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Share
    Be patient—and don't pay compare your baby to the champion signer at music class. It takes some babies longer than others to have the dexterity to sign, but keep at it.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Bread
    Some babies will grunt or pant when their parents sign, others will laugh or smile—all are indications that your baby is receptive to your communication.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Ball
    Don't set aside time to sign, just incorporate it into your day, keeping it simple and fun.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Please
    Here's a sign that teaches communication skills and manners. You're welcome!

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Thank You
    Baby sign language proponents say that signs not only help your child communicate with your earlier and more easily, it also helps them speak sooner too.

  • Sign Babies

    Sign: Apple
    Your signing vocabulary can grow with your baby's interests, so that she'll more easily (and gladly) make the connection. For example, if you notice she likes books with animals, teach her words like "dog" and "bird." If she likes apples, teach her this sign.

    Visit signbabies.com for more information on baby sign language.

comments