An 18 month old signing "book".
An 18 month old signing “book” in 1993.

Should you teach your baby sign language?  Your baby can grow up healthy and happy without learning to sign.

But why not teach them? Signing can help them get their needs met sooner, which helps them. Getting their needs met sooner will help them cry less, which helps you. And signing promotes bonding which helps both of you. Properly done, it helps brain development, and it can even be a fun activity for the family. And there are other benefits, too.

There’s more good news – it doesn’t take much money, time, or energy. There are no real negatives, and the rewards can be awesome and last for years! I would do it again, no question.

It’s not difficult. If my daughter could do 3 signs by the time she was 9 weeks old, it can’t be that difficult. More to the point, I was able to do it.

It only takes a few seconds or a minute here, a few seconds or a minute there. If you are anything like I was, you’ll have times with your baby when you have nothing else to do. You could think of it as a boredom buster.

One of the few things I make an issue of in my blog, classes, and books, is that signing (like anything else) should be properly taught. I have seen intelligent people try to teach their baby using methods that didn’t work, which is why they came to me. They get credit for trying, but teaching wasn’t one of their strong suits. All babies need to be taught language; some parents benefit from being taught how to effectively teach their baby useful signs.

You way be wondering at this point, “Are sign language for babies books really helpful?” A good one is. You can buy an inexpensive book and that’s it for out-of-pocket expenses. My e-book “Sign Language for Hearing Babies” is only $3.99 at It is shorter than some others, but will tell when you can start (it’s much earlier than other books say, and I tell you why), how to teach your baby sign language (and why that method works), and it gives other details based on my 10 plus years of baby sign language experience that other books don’t. Of course, that includes my preferred first signs to teach and any other information I think a parent needs to get started, but I don’t spend much time on things that are well covered on the internet. People who want that information handy and organized definitely can find books to meet those desires. You might want a couple different books. Each has its own point to make.

I personally wouldn’t get a particular book just because it had a lot of pictures; pictures can’t really show how to do a sign properly, especially if you are a beginner. I’m not saying pictures have no value, just be aware of their limitations. Videos and people are better teachers of specific signs. Books are good for telling how to teach, when to start, etc. I do include pictures in my baby sign book. I show the signs being done by an adult, and also show them being done by a child who had turned two years old that week.

If you were on the fence about baby sign language, I hope you have seen that it is a good activity/tool, and I hope that my baby sign language posts help you feel better informed as you take your next step. If you think you can do it without buying a book, you might be right. But why not get the benefit of the experience of someone who has successfully been through it already?

Before I end the post, I’ll leave you with a teaser about my baby sign book, and offer a tip.

Teaser – In “Sign Language for Hearing Babies,” I tell why people think you have to wait until around 6 months old to teach a baby sign language, and what to look for from a very young signing baby. We stumbled on this because my wife had the background and circumstances to see what studies weren’t programmed to look for. We don’t fault the studies, we missed it with our first two children. Luckily, they weren’t scarred for life because of it.

I also explain why I suggest the signs I do for different ages so that you can make an educated decision if you want to change the list for your situation or add new signs yourself.

Signing tip – Sign language can help babies and their families starting when the baby is very young. Most families will “outgrow” sign language when the child really starts talking, but that doesn’t mean that signing becomes useless.  A few basic signs can be useful even when your child is 2 or 3 years old: come (here), sit, stop, potty, finish/finished, etc., can be useful in quiet and public places. You can also sign to your child to wait if they are trying to interrupt you.

Here are links to my parenting books:

Sign Language for Hearing Babies, , and

You Are Your Child’s Most Important Teacher,

Until next time,

Happy signing!

Should you teach your baby sign language?
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