When to start baby sign language?

A good time to start baby sign language is when your child is between 6 and 9 months of age, as this is often a time when babies usually start to make attempts to communicate and make hand movements such as waving hello and goodbye.  Typically your infant will use the first sign between six and nine months. Your baby will also most likely start to sit unaided around this time, which makes things easier.

Baby sign language is an excellent means of communication before your child actually talks.

It is also possible to start as soon as your child is born. Children can understand language even before they start talking.  As a parent you can start baby sign language as soon as you make consistent eye contact with your child and you can keep your baby’s attention for at least 7 to 10 seconds.

Using baby sign language from birth can cause an early signer, but there’s no guarantee.  You’re your expectations extremely low in this early stage. Teaching baby sign language is a slow process. Your baby can appear to be confused or make funny faces. This is very normal as he or she is trying to figure out what it is that you are trying to teach using baby sign language. Encourage your child when he or she is trying to sign.

You need to be patient. Repetition is the mother of skill. Don’t give up, even if you think you started to early using baby sign language. Let your child surprise you with his very first sign. It might take a while before your baby starts making signs. First results might show at seven months. An infant needs motor skills to sign back and make movements, the ability to focus long enough on hand movement is necessary.

Don’t forget that waving hello is also a form of baby sign language.  As soon as your child can understand gestures for hello or goodbye, you can start using baby sign language.  Sign words on a consistent base while pointing to the item you refer to.

If there is an older sibling, it can make sense to start earlier and to involve the older sibling in using signs with the younger brother or sister.

Children that are able to communicate with signs are often more verbal as a 2 year old. So baby sign language isn’t in any way inhibiting your child’s desire to speak.  Baby sign language is a bridge towards talking and motivates the child in exploring other ways of communication.

Every baby is different. So when to start baby sign language eventually? Lets say between six to nine months and you can continue all the way up to 36 months,  it’s never too late to teach your infant baby sign language.  Most of all, enjoy this special two-way conversation!

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