Baby sign language has become more and more popular in recent years. It is now a common practice used by many parents to teach their babies the ability to communicate before they can do so verbally, which can help to make fussy babies (and frustrated parents) much happier. In addition to earlier communication, practicing sign with your baby increases the parent-child bond.
When you and your baby can understand each other, intimacy can grow.
Teaching baby sign language also has cognitive benefits; it’s a great way to boost baby’s brain!
According to a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, young children who learned sign language were able to speak sooner than the other children. In addition to earlier speech development, the benefits are named to be that children begin reading sooner, have larger speaking and reading vocabulary, and a reported +12 IQ point advantage.
Another way that baby sign can benefit your baby is by expanding their visual-perceptual skills and increasing their spatial awareness. It can help them to learn concepts like direction, distance, and location, which are necessary in learning environments.
With all of these benefits, why not give it a try?
I teach a specialty workshop on baby sign language in Bubble Newborns class, and we integrate signing into our music classes at Bubbles Academy.
Here are some simple signs that we recommend starting with:
MORE (tap fingers together in this shape a few times)
MILK (open and close fingers like you’re milking a cow!)
ALL DONE (palms face you to start, then flip them away from you)
BATH (move closed fists in a circular motion)
BOOK (palms start together, then open them like a book)
GOODNIGHT/SLEEP (say “night, night!”)
Just For Fun!
LOVE (to say “I love you”, point to yourself, then make the sign for love, then point to your baby)
MOM/MAMA & DAD/DADA (thumb on chin for mom, thumb on forehead for dad)
CAT (thumb and index finger touch near your nose, then move hands away from each other, like cat whiskers)
BUBBLES (My favorite! Hands move higher and higher while making a bubble-popping motion with thumb and index finger)
Baby Sign Language Tips
- Practice face to face with your baby in a secure place.
- Begin with just 2 or 3 signs at first.
- Be patient! Babies will start to understand signs around 6-7 months but might not sign back to you until 8-12 months.
What has your experience been practicing baby sign language? Share your insight or questions below or tweet us @BubblesAcademy.
The Bright Move: This post is a part of a collection of blogs leading into Fall 2014. The thoughtful, bright moves Bubbles Academy takes in the classroom and recommends for at-home, feature explorative play & arts based activities — encouraging healthy physical, cognitive and social development for your child. Like this post? Share with the hashtag #thebrightmove
Lauren Hubert is Bubbles Academy’s After School Program Manager and a Lead Teacher in Music and Creative Movement, as well as Baby Sign leader in Bubble Newborns. She is a certified yoga instructor, active songwriter and dynamic performer around Chicago and at our themed Birthday celebrations!