Baby sign has been around since the early 2000s but it hasn’t gained the traction that it deserves. Similar to bilingualism, there seems to be a constant debate around whether teaching babies to sign improves or delays areas of language development. Luckily, studies have been done on this very matter and the results are in: baby sign works!
What is baby sign language?
Baby sign language is used by preverbal babies and caregivers to communicate simple wants and needs. Contrary to popular belief, baby sign language doesn’t follow any specific form of sign language. While many of the signs are derived from American Sign Language (ASL), you or your child may very well make up your own signs and that’s completely fine.
Benefits of baby sign language
Research shows that preverbal babies who use sign language show better communication skills, cognitive development, and social skills later in life. Researchers speculate that babies who sign learn to communicate wants and needs earlier, which may result in less frustration, less behavioral problems, and an increased understanding of how language works.
How and when should I teach my baby?
Most babies are ready to learn at around 8 to 10 months and begin to sign back after 10 months. When you teach a new sign, remember to also say the word as you sign it. You can look online for tutorials or you can even make up your own signs as long as you are consistent. Our Early Learning Kit includes a book all about baby sign language, but you can also find some free online resources.