Using sign language with your baby helps them understand you and then it helps you understand your baby. When a baby is able to communicate with your earlier, they are able to let you know what they want, play with language as they learn and connect with you in an incredible way!

Why sign? Because your baby is able to understand what they see before they can understand what they hear.  The area of a baby’s brain that is responsible for understanding what is seen (visual area) develops before the area that is responsible for what is heard (auditory area). This means that babies can understand what is being shown to them earlier than what is said to them. So if you consistently show your baby the sign for MILK while saying the word, it is most likely the case at 4-5 months that she’ll be calming down because she understands what she is seeing, not necessarily what she is hearing, yet. Keep in mind that all babies develop differently though.


Why sign? Signs are often easier to make then some spoken words. The gross motor ability to sign starts developing around 6-7 months (every baby is different) while the finer motor skills need for speech develop from 12 months onward. This of how easy it is to sign FISH, one hand moving as if imitating the tail of a fishing swimming. My son signed this at 9 months. He started attempting to say it at 12 months, /pish/, and it wasn’t until he was two years that he clearly said /fish/.

by Sara Bingham

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Baby Sign Language for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers
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