Hi! We show you're using Internet Explorer 6. Unfortunately, IE6 is an older browser and everything at MindBites may not work for you. We recommend upgrading (for free) to the latest version of Internet Explorer from Microsoft or Firefox from Mozilla.
Click here to read more about IE6 and why it makes sense to upgrade.

Baby Sign Language - How to Get Started

Preview

Like what you see? Buy now to watch it online or download.

You Might Also Like

About this Lesson

  • Type: Video Tutorial
  • Length: 14:34
  • Media: Video/mp4
  • Use: Watch Online & Download
  • Access Period: Unrestricted
  • Download: MP4 (iPod compatible)
  • Size: 49 MB
  • Posted: 06/04/2007

This lesson is part of the following series:

Baby Sign Language: Everything You Need (11 lessons, $15.84)
Baby Sign Language Basics (6 lessons, $9.90)

Using American Sign Language (ASL), you can teach your baby to communicate his/her needs to you before he/she has the ability to talk. In this lesson you will learn basic signs to teach your baby. You will also learn simple techniques to incorporate baby sign language into your daily routine. At the end of the lesson, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. If you're interested in additional instruction, I teach several other more-advanced baby sign language lessons you can access by clicking on "11 lessons" under my name above. I hope you enjoy the lesson! Note: Based on user feedback, I added chapter titles to the lesson.

Note: you are purchasing the right to download or access this video lesson online. Unfortunately, we do not offer lessons in a DVD format.

About this Author

Laura Berg
Laura Berg
22 lessons
Joined:
05/24/2007

Baby sign language expert, Laura Berg, teaches baby signing classes and trains other ASL baby sign language instructors through her Toronto-based company, My Smart Hands ( www.mysmarthands.com ). Laura has helped countless parents with their quest to better understand and communicate with their little ones through her baby sign language classes and video lessons.

Laura is certified with the Ontario College of Teachers and was recently awarded with the Ontario Mom Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is also a frequent guest lecturer at the University level on the topic of using sign language with hearing children. She has delivered workshops to librarians and teachers helping them...

More..

Recent Reviews

Nopic_tan
So 'friendly' in every way!
03/13/2010
~ annarlo

User-friendly...Laura is so obviously caring...and makes it easy to 'get started'. Thank you, Laura, for letting 'us' out here have access to your materials through MINDBITES! Ann, a grandmom

Nopic_tan
Great Clip!
01/22/2010
~ Janeen

This was really helpful for how to incorporate signing into daily routines. I now feel comfortable starting the process! Thanks!

Nopic_gry
Very helpful...will purchase more!
05/13/2009
~ lisa8

I really liked this video. The teacher is great and the signs are easy. Also, seeing the video of her daughter signing was so cute and really motivated me to start signing with my daughter right away! The price of the download was also a huge bonus...I looked at DVD packages starting at $60! This is a great bargain!

Nopic_dkb
My baby signed the first day!!!
04/24/2009
~ jentanne

I taught my daughter the signs for milk, eat, more and mommy/daddy during her first meal after watching the video. She actually signed milk first. I could not believe it! I gave it to her and she did drink. I thought she was clapping her hands the whole time she was eating, then I realized she was trying to sign "more". She only signed milk and more, but I could not believe she was doing that after only showing her a few times!! Granted, she is 13 months old but this is so amazing. Thanks. Only thing I would like to see is some of the other common signs like please and thank you. I did see them briefly but not long enough to catch how to do them...

Nopic_grn
baby sign language is so easy even a caveman co...
03/06/2009
~ smokesignalfl

This video helped me to understand that teaching your baby sign language is very useful and quite possible. Thisa video starts with the basics. Luckily, there are more videos and more tips to help as you go along!

Nopic_tan
So 'friendly' in every way!
03/13/2010
~ annarlo

User-friendly...Laura is so obviously caring...and makes it easy to 'get started'. Thank you, Laura, for letting 'us' out here have access to your materials through MINDBITES! Ann, a grandmom

Nopic_tan
Great Clip!
01/22/2010
~ Janeen

This was really helpful for how to incorporate signing into daily routines. I now feel comfortable starting the process! Thanks!

Nopic_gry
Very helpful...will purchase more!
05/13/2009
~ lisa8

I really liked this video. The teacher is great and the signs are easy. Also, seeing the video of her daughter signing was so cute and really motivated me to start signing with my daughter right away! The price of the download was also a huge bonus...I looked at DVD packages starting at $60! This is a great bargain!

Nopic_dkb
My baby signed the first day!!!
04/24/2009
~ jentanne

I taught my daughter the signs for milk, eat, more and mommy/daddy during her first meal after watching the video. She actually signed milk first. I could not believe it! I gave it to her and she did drink. I thought she was clapping her hands the whole time she was eating, then I realized she was trying to sign "more". She only signed milk and more, but I could not believe she was doing that after only showing her a few times!! Granted, she is 13 months old but this is so amazing. Thanks. Only thing I would like to see is some of the other common signs like please and thank you. I did see them briefly but not long enough to catch how to do them...

Nopic_grn
baby sign language is so easy even a caveman co...
03/06/2009
~ smokesignalfl

This video helped me to understand that teaching your baby sign language is very useful and quite possible. Thisa video starts with the basics. Luckily, there are more videos and more tips to help as you go along!

Nopic_blu
great starter
02/20/2009
~ terri3

i already knew these signs, but think it is great for refresher and anyone who dosen't know any signs this is a great place to start. i have been teaching my daycare kids as i learn and they have picked it up quick. we have made a book with our own kids doing the signs. Thanks Laura

Nopic_orng
Thank you Laura
09/17/2008
~ mac

Hi Laura,
Thanks for making these videos to share with others your awesome knowledge of baby sign language. My baby is just coming up on 6 months now so I'm looking forward to some exciting times ahead trying to help him to better express his needs & helping him to learn & to grow. What an awesome thing the human mind is :)

Nopic_grn
very clear
05/22/2008
~ cxmoore

i liked having it explained to me simply.

Tina_homepage
I'm totally going to do this!
03/20/2008
~ Tina

I didn't know that babies could sign before they could speak. I think this is a great thing to implement and the teacher walks you through it and gives tips and encouragement, while showing you really useful signs.

Easy-pc_homepage
Fascinating!
12/02/2007
~ Easy-PC

Although I don't have children I was so impressed by the first minute preview that I bought this lesson. And it was absolutely worth the credit. It is really interesting what children are capable of learning and what ways you can use to communicate with them.

Nopic_orng
Excellent
11/14/2007
~ schatzlein16

I really like the way Laura explains everything, it is very easy to understand (English is my second language)... I have being signing with my baby 3 weeks ago, and she already does the "milk" sign... Laura's baby is our inspiration... I strongly recommend all her videos!

Nopic_orng
Super!
09/24/2007
~ Jkittie

I really liked this mindbite. Laura speaks very calmly and clearly in this video. It is also encouraging to see the babies learning in the video. I will definitely try to incorporate signing in my babies daily life.

Nopic_tan
Great!!
08/24/2007
~ cellist86

this is a very helpul video!! I am definetly going to try to teach my baby how to sign. I believe it is a great way to advance their language skills and put their already absorbing brain to good use. The best time to start is at an early stage!

Nopic_orng
Learning to sign
08/09/2007
~ NatureGirl

This is an excellent introduction to signing with your baby. The author shows the success of her own 13-month baby signing, then proceeds with a six-month baby who is just learning. The lesson is thorough and includes the methodology, stages the baby might go through while learning, and the formation of signs. The lesson is based on cognitive levels and the author is clearly very knowledgeable and experienced. She is very reassuring and explains the technique clearly. I look forward to part two!

Nopic_blu
Super idea
08/06/2007
~ hiroy17

I am amazed by this new idea. It's great that there is a way for your baby to communicate with you before they can talk. The child in this video is terrific and Laura is a superb teacher. This video could change your life and give your baby an incredible start in life. Highly recommended.

Nopic_grn
Wonderful form of communication!
07/23/2007
~ miel

While pregnant, I read a book on "Baby Sign language" - which is essentially a guide to communicating with your baby using "fake" signs. I assumed this was the only choice seeing as I did not know ASL, and I figured the signs would be too complicated for my baby and I to learn.

After watching this incredible video, I see how easy the signs are to use and to remember. And learning "real" ASL signs as opposed to fake baby signs is so much more valuable-it's using a new, real, language. What better way to start off your baby's life then by introducing them to different languages and styles of communication.

I was also happy to see how the video addressed some of the questions and concerns that many people have about using sign language with their babies. This will help in teaching others what a great tool this really is.

The techniques shown in this video are so helpful and make it easy to do. I have already started to use them - and so has my husband. It's fun for the whole family!

I am very much looking forward to the next session. Thank you so much for posting this video--best one I have seen yet!

Nopic_orng
Looking forward to part two...
07/17/2007
~ lbnyc

Laura shows how to sign with your infant in "baby steps" - learning a handful of words you can use now (eat, mommy, daddy) and easily remember tomorrow. The production is quite good too. After mastering these I'm quite confident I can handle the next lesson!

Nopic_gry
Practical and Innovative
07/16/2007
~ CoachAnn

Laura has demonstrated in a practical manner how to get started signing with your baby. So often we want to try something we have heard about and we just don't know how to start. This is a great beginning video. Also the whole concept about communicating with your baby and knowing what can satisfy them at a much ealier age is very innovative. It's wonderful to know that there are other ways of doing things than what we have done in the past.

Ginger_homepage
Very concise and helpful!
07/03/2007
~ Ginger

It was so helpful to me to be able to see an actual person doing these signs rather than trying to interpret movement from a picture in a book. I also found the tips for success (teaching techniques and how to incorporate the signs into daily life) extremely helpful as well as the information regarding how my baby is likely to respond and progress. Well worth the price, and I look forward to Part 2.

Nopic_blu
ASL parents rule
06/19/2007
~ hytechteach

Fantastic to see. This is so awesome to see someone promoting what babies have always needed. a way to communicate! this works if you teach it right. Nice video showing the possiblities and how to begin. terrific video! 5

Nopic_tan
WOW!
06/14/2007
~ brittanie

This is an amazing video! I had no idea that babies could be so engaged at such an early age. I don't plan on having kids anytime soon but now I wish I had one to practice this lesson. The homevideos of your baby girl signing and speaking at age one are incredible. It should be on America's Got Talent!

Production Notes: Very good audio. Shots are clean and direct. Some scenes could use a little more text when explaining the type of sign it is, i.e. sign approximations. I know this might be self-evident but it sounds like it has a technical explanation.

Overall very informative and great video.

Can't wait for the next video!

Donna_homepage
Splendid!
06/08/2007
~ Donna

A splendid lesson. Very clearly communicated, and encouraging to folks. As a new grandmother I can't wait to practice this!

Nachan_homepage
Great video!!!!
06/07/2007
~ nachan

This lesson is very straight forward and teaches you all the basic terms you need to sign with your baby. I enjoyed the video very much!

Jason_reneau_pic2_homepage
AWESOME VIDEO!!! If you want to start signing ...
06/05/2007
~ Jason

This is a fantastic video for anyone interested in starting to sign with their baby. Laura who is a teacher and is clearly well educated in signing with babies, explains the benefits of signing with your baby and gives you 9 signs (10 if you count the two ways to sign I love you). Best yet, she shows footage of her daughter making the signs back which gives you an idea of how a baby may make the sign or an "approximation" if it as she explains. She also works with a friend's 6 month old to show how you actually use and teach signing to a beginning baby. This struck me as most useful, because I know I would quickly question whether I was doing it correctly and get discouraged long before my baby would be able to sign back to me. And all through the video, she reinforces the use of these basic signs and even provides a recap of the main signs at the end for easy reference. The video quality was good even at full screen playback. In terms of constructive feedback, it's hard to think of much. One question I had was whether it mattered which hand I use to make the signs. It might also be helpful to show common ways of mistaking the signs. Finally, its a little advanced but it would be great to have chapter markers delineating each of the sections to make it easy to navigate to each and especially to jump to the recap. But those are all small potatoes. Great lesson Laura!!! Can't wait to see more and you are going to help a lot of parents.

(Music playing)

Hi and welcome to the introduction of How to Sign With Your Baby. My name is Laura. I am a teacher and university guest lecturer on the benefits of using sign language with hearing children. I also own a company called My Smart Hands, where we teach parents how to sign with their babies. I want you to comfort in the fact that you don’t need any prior knowledge of American Sign Language in order to successfully sign with your baby. You can easily learn as we go along. I want to share with you a video clip with you of my daughter when she was just one, showing off her signing skills. I hope you enjoy it.

(Video – Below)

What’s kiwi? Good girl. We finger spell kiwi. It’s K I W I and she’s not really finger spelling it, but she’s trying.

What’s the sign for eat?

How about more?

How about finished? Finished. Good.

What’s this? O is for Cheerios. We do O for Cheerios. Good.

And what’s this? Stars. These are stars. Good girl.

What’s this? What’s that? Apple. Good girl.

And, oh, how about this. What is this? Cheese. You do this for cheese. Good.

How about milk? What is the sign for milk? Milk. Good.

And how about grapes? Grapes.

(End Video)

In this lesson, you are going to learn how to sign with your baby. I am going to teach you certain techniques in order to incorporate those signs into your daily routine. I am also going to show you the starting signs that I suggest you use. The one thing is to try to be as consistent as possible. For example, if you are introducing the sign for milk, which is this, it is kind of like milking a cow. Every time you give you baby milk you are going to want to do the sign. I say, “Do you want to have some milk? Do you want milk?” and eventually they will realize when they do that sign they are going to get milk. Now I want you to remember, they are not going to learn to sign back right away. It is going to take some time. But the more consistent you are the faster they are going to learn. It is sort of like talking to them. We don’t stop talking to them just because they don’t talk back. We know that eventually they will. So the more you sign, the faster they will pick it up. So sign, sign, sign.

(Music playing)

One of the things I hear from people when I tell them that I have a signing daughter is that they have heard that signing can delay speech. I am not really sure where they are getting this information from because it is totally untrue. In fact, studies have shown the opposite to be true. Signing actually promotes language. Many of the first words my daughter said were words that she already knew the signs for. You have to understand that children develop language at different rates. Some don’t start talking until they are two or three. What signing does in the meantime is give them a tool to communicate their needs to you, which is extremely valuable and helpful to reduce their frustration. Babies want to talk. They babble all the time. When they have the ability to do so they will. Signing won’t delay the speech, but it will benefit you. Here is a clip of my daughter when she was just 13 months old. In the video, you will hear that her language has not been delayed at all.

(Video playing)

What is the sign daddy?

Daddy.

How about mommy?

Mommy.

And how about grandma?

Grandma.

Good. How about baby? What is the sign for baby?

Baby.

Baby. And how about dog?

Dog.

Dog. Good.

Do you know the sign for bear?

Bear.

Bear. Good. And how about cat?

Cat.

Cat. That’s right. How about monkey?

(Baby making monkey sounds)

How about Cheerios?

O’s.

O’s. And how about cheese?

Cheese.

Good. And how about milk? Milk. That’s right.

(End Video)

This is Sydney. He’s my friends’ son. He is six months old so he is the perfect age to sign with. As I suggested earlier, the good sign to introduce to them first is the sign milk because we use it every day. So whether you are nursing or you are bottle feeding, you can incorporate milk into your daily routine. Again, as I said earlier, it is like you are milking a cow, like this. So what you are going to want to do also when you are signing is try and sign up around your face because babies love to look at your face. So you are going to want to go, “its milk. You’re having milk.” So you are going to start signing, “You want some milk. Milk. That’s milk.” See how he is looking at my hand. So then you would introduce the bottle, or if you are nursing. I don’t know if he is hungry and wants to take the bottle. “You want milk. No.” So he doesn’t want milk, which is fine. But if he were to be drinking a bottle and he was lie back like that, you could easily just lean the bottle up against yourself like that and support it. “You want it now. No. Okay that’s fine.” Then you would sign milk. “You’re having milk.” Same as if you were nursing. Same thing. “Just milk. Yum milk.” And then another thing that you can do is you can take their hand and try to show them how to do the sign with their hand. So what you can do is say milk. Milk. And kind of just squeeze his fingers in a little bit, just gently so he can feel how the sign is to be made. So try that every day when you nurse or you bottle feed and eventually he will start to respond and he will start to see that if he does this he is going to get milk.

(Music playing)

The next sign I am going to show you is how to incorporate mommy and daddy into your daily routine. So the sign for mommy is to take you five hand and you just tap it on your chin like this. The sign for daddy is up here on your forehead. Now you will notice that all female signs are below the nose and all male signs are above the nose. So daddy and mom. Now the way that you can incorporate it is have somebody hold your baby and say to them, “Where’s mommy? Where’s mommy?”, and then have mommy come into the room and say, “Here’s mommy. Here’s mommy.” So they will associate that this is the sign for mommy. Okay? So we are going to try it.

“Sydney, where’s mommy? Where’s mommy?” “Here’s mommy. Hi Syd, it’s mommy. It’s mommy.” What we will do now is, we will have mommy hold onto the baby, which is Sydney, and we will have daddy come into the room. Okay? So what she is going to do is she is going to introduce daddy. So she is going to introduce the sign for daddy, and then daddy is going to come and say, “It’s daddy. It’s daddy.” And you are going to want to remember, too, be expressive because babies love different tones. So you are going to want to say, “Where’s daddy? Where’s daddy?” Okay? “Where’s daddy? Where’s daddy?” “Here’s daddy. Here’s daddy. Here’s daddy.” “That’s daddy.”

(Music playing)

Another sign that you are going to want to introduce into your daily routine is the sign for eat. So it is like this. It is as though you are putting food into your mouth. Eat. So you can say to the baby, “Sydney, do you want to eat? Do you want to eat?” You can take it and you can do it on them. “Eat. Eat.” Or you can take their hand and show them how to sign. “Eat. That is the sign for eat.” So then you will take your food, “Eat. Eat. Eat. You’re eating. That a boy. Umm. There you go.”

(Music playing)

Another sign at mealtime that you are going to use is the sign for more. So it’s the same hand shape, basically, as eat except you are taping them together. So you could say, “Do you want more? Do you want more food? Do you want more? Umm, more food.” Then you will take your spoon and you will give them more. “Umm, more. That a boy. More. Good.” And you can keep doing that throughout the meal. “Do you want more?” Then give them more. Again, you can take their hands and you can sign more. More. Now one thing that I want to quickly point out to you is sign approximations. We sign more like this. Your baby probably won’t do that in the beginning, right away. They might sign more like this. This is very common sign approximation that babies do. It’s no problem. Just keep signing more the way that it is supposed to sign because they are seeing in like that and he is thinking that this is more, that he is doing the same thing. Just like when they start to talk, they may say ba, and that may mean ball or it may be bottle but you know what they are talking about so you encourage them to say ball. Same way that signing goes.

Music playing)

Another sign that you are going to want to incorporate into your daily life is the sign for I love you. Now, there are two ways to sign I love you. There is this way. I love you. Use your thumb, your index finger, and your baby finger. And you can say to your little one, “I love you. I love you.” This sign is going to be hard for them to make, obviously, to hold these fingers down. Another way is to, you can put them on your lap like this, or if they are sitting in the chair, highchair, or if they are in their crib lying down for changing of the diaper, whatever the case may be, you can get their attention, “Hey Syd. Ready?”, and you go, “I love you. Yeaa.”

Music playing)

I am going to just show you three more signs that you can incorporate into your daily routine. If you have animals, babies love to look at animals. So if you have a cat, the sign for cat is like this. Like you are outlining their whiskers. Keep your three fingers up here. Okay? So that is the sign for cat. So you go, “Look at the cat, Sydney. Look at the cat.” You can point to the cat. “Look at the cat.” If your cats’ name, whatever your cats name is you can call it cat. But I suggest using the word of the animal so they understand. Now the sign for dog, if you have a dog, is you snap your fingers and tap your leg. So that is the sign for dog. Now most likely the kid is just going to tap their leg. My daughter, whenever she signs dog, just smacks her leg because snapping is hard. But you can do both snapping and tapping or just tap. When the dog walks into the room you do the same thing. And the sign for bird, if you have a bird is that, like a beak, with your index finger and your thumb, right near your mouth. Bird. And often times when babies start signing bird back to you, they will sign it like this because they are seeing you from this angle. Okay? So again, you just want to turn their hands around and correct that. That’s no problem.

(Music playing)

So I am just going to recap the signs that we learned today. So we learned the sign for milk. Which is that, and do them along with me. Sign milk. The sign for mommy is the five hand taping your chin. And the sign for daddy is the five hand taping your forehead. So again, the male signs are above the nose and the female signs are below. We also learned the sign for eat, which is this. Eat. And the sign more. More. We learned two different ways to sign I love you. The first way is like that. I love you. And the second way is I, point at yourself, love, like you are giving a big hug, you. We also learned a couple of animal signs. We learned the sign for cat, which is like this. You are pulling on the whiskers with you three fingers up here. We learned the sign for dog, which is a snap and a tap. Or you can just tap your leg. And we learned the sign for bird, which is like that. Opening and closing the beak. So start with those signs, pick which ones you are comfortable with. You only have to start with a couple. Try to do them every day and in Part II I am going to introduce you to more food signs. So in the meantime, good luck and happy signing.

(Music playing)

Remember, keep signing every day. And if you miss a day, or even a week, that’ okay. Just pick it up when you can. But remember, consistency is the key. The more consistent you are, the faster they are going to pick up signs. And once they realize that everything has a sign, they are going to pick new ones up really fast. Most importantly, have fun. It is a great time to bond with your baby. So enjoy

(Music playing)

If you have any questions about how to sign with your baby, please feel free to email me and I will be happy to answer them. Bye for now.

Embed this video on your site

Copy and paste the following snippet: