Sign Language and Babies

Postnatal, Testimonials

In his previous article, François talks about how to take time with a baby.

Dans son billet précédent, François nous parle de comment prendre du temps avec bébé.

Hello boys!

Is it possible to talk with a baby? Yes, I know, a baby won’t speak for a while, but there is a great way to understand our offspring. We call it baby sign language.

Generally speaking, it’s teaching your baby to sign with their hands to “say” things they can’t express with words, similar to deaf-mutes, but adapted to little ones. You can start teaching signs to your baby around 6-8 months, but it will take them a couple of months to start repeating them.

My latest baby (13 months in April), knows and uses 7 signs.

  •       I’m hungry;
  •       More;
  •       Done;
  •       Down (get off);
  •       Milk;
  •       Gentle (being gentle);
  •       Bird (well, this sign is “useless,” but when he uses this sign, I look out the window and indeed a bird is usually there!).

Signer avec bébé

We are also working on other signs, including:

  •       Drink water;
  •       Eat an apple;
  •       I’m tired, I want to sleep;
  •       I hurt (bobo).

This is a great shared experience. The sign for “done” was one of the first our baby learned and repeated, and he uses it mostly when eating. When he is full, he shakes his hands in a specific way, and we know the baby doesn’t want to eat anymore, he’s done. But we also use this sign at other times, for example, during the bath or when playing games. So last week, the baby wanted me and his big brother to push him on his sort of skateboard. We played with him for several minutes, but my back hurt, and I wanted to stop the game. Usually, he gets furious when we finish this game. We pick him up and tell him it’s done, and he gets outraged. But this time I said, “It’s over kiddo, my back hurts,” accompanied by the “done” sign. His brother made the same sign. Like magic, the baby focused on our hands, then got off his skateboard on his own without complaining. Wow! I was thrilled, and he was too. He seemed very satisfied with himself. He understood us and accepted that the game was over. That’s what signs are for so that the baby can feel understood.

I strongly encourage you to get into the sign language business if you have a baby!

Talk soon,

In his next article, François talks about babywearing.

Dans son billet suivant François nous parle de portage


The opinions found in this article are the author’s alone.

Photo - Photo de papa collaborateur journal intime de François

Photo source: Jo Hilton on Unsplash.

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