Monday, November 8, 2010

Teach Your Baby to Sign for FREE

As a new mother myself, I have heard a lot about introducing basic signs to infants to encourage communication. I have read the pros and cons (yes, there are pros and cons to just about every parenting topic, even sign language for hearing infants) and decided that I want to introduce simple signs to my baby for the following reasons:

1. Babies develop the ability to physically manipulate their hands and arms before they can move the small muscles of the mouth and tongue to articulate words. 

2. Baby girls usually speak before baby boys, but babies learn to sign at the same rate despite gender. I have a baby boy and I would like him to be able to express his needs as early as possible.

3. Being able to sign a need helps babies reduce their frustration at not being able to express needs.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO SPEND MONEY TO USE BABY SIGN! Basics such as diapers and wipes are expensive enough, don't make this one more thing you feel compelled to spend money on. There are countless books, DVDs and classes promising to teach you and your baby to sign. Why not access the FREE resources available and learn to sign with your baby without draining your bank account. 

-Try your public library for resources on signing with children or American Sing Language. Most public libraries have fun DVD's such as Signing Time, that you can use for free!

-Make your own signing book. Take a picture of an item you want to teach a sign for such as "milk" or "cup." Then take a picture of you or another person performing the sign for the item. Print the pictures and place them side by side in a small photo album. Share this album with your baby and practice the signs together.

Visit any of these links to learn signs for free:

http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/concepts.htm - A detailed description including pictures of 100 signs to start with. 
www.signingbaby.com - Written by a Mom, this website includes practical resources to help you get started.
http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/browser.htm - ASL dictionary. Click on a word and watch a video demonstration of the sign.
http://www.mybabycantalk.com/content/dictionary/dictionaryofsigns.aspx?letter=A - My baby can talk has a dictionary of basic signs you can use with your baby. 

Do you have any additional suggestions for teaching your child to sign for free? Success stories? If so, please leave a comment!


  1. Baby sign language is based on International Sign Language - it's basically just ISL by another name. Research ISL videos on YouTube, books at the library and other free online sites like http://www.sematos.eu/isl.html, which has a free video dictionary.

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