Baby Sign Language Kit Sneak Preview

We are excited to announce four new Baby Sign Language products. The products, a teaching guide, a dictionary, flash cards, and a wall chart will be available individually or bundled together as a kit.

Baby Sign Language Teaching GuideThe Baby Sign Language Guide Book covers everything you need to know about teaching your child how to sign. Beginning with a Quick Start Guide, the book introduces your first ten signs and enables you to start teaching your baby in 30 minutes. As your baby progresses in signing, you can move to more advanced topics such as combining single signs into phrases and transitioning your child from signing to speech.
(128 pages, $19.95)

Baby Sign Language DictionaryThe Baby Sign Language Dictionary contains more than 600 signs to expand your baby’s vocabulary beyond the basics. Each sign is illustrated with two diagrams showing both the starting and ending position as well as the intermediate motion. In addition to commonly used words, the dictionary includes the alphabet and the numbers 0-10.
(240 pages, $19.95)

Baby Sign Language Flash CardsThe Baby Sign Language Flash Cards include 52 of the most popular signs. In addition to the basics, the flash cards help you teach words such as train and zebra that your baby may not be exposed to on a daily basis. The front of each flash card displays the word and image to your baby. The back of each flash card shows how the sign is performed (a handy reminder for the teacher). Each flash card is made of sturdy paperboard and measures 4″ x 6″. ($24.95)

Baby Sign Language Wall ChartThe Baby Sign Language Wall Chart shows 17 basic signs including eat, drink, and sleep. The wall chart is a useful reference for caregivers such as grandparents, nannies, or babysitters, so they can interpret the basic signs your baby makes when you are away from home. The chart is also a helpful reminder in the early days when you are learning your first signs. The wall chart measures 24″ x 36″. ($9.95)

The Deluxe Baby Sign Language Teaching Kit bundles all four products together for a special price of $39.95 (a $35 discount!).

We have worked hard on these products to get everything perfect and can’t wait for you to see them. More details on how to order coming soon.

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Smiles Are Signs Too

Credit: Coloniana2I was fortunate enough to see my son smile in the delivery room shortly after his weigh in and measurements were all taken. He opened his bright blue eyes and smiled at family and friends right away. This was our very first baby sign language milestone! After all, is there any better way to say happy, love or show approval or gratitude than with a smile? My son and I smiled at one another and that was all the sign language we needed there in the delivery room.


And since our BSL skills surfaced at birth, surely I had a little Einstein – a total overachiever – on my hands, right? Well, he would actually take his time with all the other signs and even add several verbal words to his vocabulary prior to mimicking any baby sign language.


When I was at my most discouraged, ready to toss the BSL flashcards and take the wall charts down from the fridge, I looked at my son and asked, “So what do you think? Should we give up? Not bother with these signs any more?”


He gazed back at me a moment as though he understood; not the words I was saying, but the feeling and emotion behind those words. He knew I was about to give up on something. He took one of his puffs in his left hand and reached up to me with his right. I took him in my arms and he attempted to feed his puff to me. It was as though he was saying, “Here mommy, these make me feel better.”


I ate the puff and he smiled.


That was all I needed to be taken right back to our meeting in the delivery room. I knew exactly what he was saying, and he knew what I was saying. Maybe he wouldn’t show me the sign for diaper, drink, eat or milk for several more months, but there were plenty of other signs between the two of us.


It is tempting to go through the checklist of milestone as though they are just that – a checklist. In reality, every milestone should be relished and celebrated and the same is true for sign language. I shifted my focus from quantity to quality right then! We didn’t keep a tally, we just learned at our own pace.


Today – I can’t tell you how many signs my son knows. There are probably too many to count. And it all started with a smile!

Baby sign language at home & on the road

Perhaps your little one is already a well-versed signer and is quickly showing progress on verbal skills. The basics are covered and you seldom see tantrums or meltdowns.  As their world expands we are compelled to expose them to new vocabulary. Some new words have day-to-day application others are very distant to their surroundings but equally relevant in shaping a child that has fluid communication skills.


Perhaps like us you live hundreds of miles from the ocean and a good drive away from a farm. Still you wish to introduce your little one to the terminology. If this is the case, do not fret. There are wonderful alternatives and effective methodology to achieve this goal.


New words at home

Make it a point to introduce your child to two-dimensional concepts foreign to their surroundings by using books.  Select highly imaginative books that allow you and your child to travel to far away lands facing situations new situations and exploring new objects. Delight in teaching your child about the jungle as they learn the sign for lion and explore galaxies as they learn to sign star.






New words on the road

If you are planning a vacation consider making some preparations for enhanced vocabulary acquisition. If heading to the ocean or lake, be prepared with the proper flash cards. If your destination is the mountains it is time to reinforce bear or rain.


As you increase the vocabulary of your little one you will also create wonderful stamps in their memory that are further reinforced by verbal and gestural communication.

Modeling Baby Sign Language

This beautiful boy is Marilyn's baby.

You’ve worked on the signs for months, but still baby isn’t signing back. You notice those little eyes looking intently at your hand signing milk, but the most response you are getting is an open mouth ready for the next bite. Sound familiar? Don’t be discouraged! Though you may feel like a BSL teaching failure, chances are good that she is understanding the signs long before she has the fine motor skills to mimic them.


Your can help develop those motor skills and encourage her signing through modeling. Teaching baby sign language through modeling involves shaping your little one’s hands in order to help them make the sign while you repeat the sign’s meaning and offer context such as giving a bottle of milk after you help baby open and close a fist (the sign for milk).


To get the most out of model teaching, consider changing your perspective. Position yourself behind baby; teaching with baby in your lap, for example. This sounds odd, but it will feel more natural for both you and baby to make a sign while facing the same direction. It is easier to shape baby’s hand within your own when the hands are aligned. You’ll be putting things into baby’s perspective rather than placing baby in the role of onlooker.


And as always, continue to teach signs in context. Sign language is a concrete visual cue to an abstract spoken word, but without some further definition baby learns that the sign and word go together and not what the sign and word actually mean. It makes sense then that we work on the sign for eat during mealtime and the sign for diaper during a diaper change. Remember, you can go ahead and communicate a sign before, during and after an activity.


Just like babies understand verbal language before they can participate in the activity, they will understand the signs before they start mimicking them. It is tempting to become frustrated with this stage, but it is a natural step and progression to the learning process. It is also not uncommon for baby to first grasp onto one sign and, in the beginning, use that sign for everything. More is an easy first sign, and one that babies tend to master and then turn to for every request. Continue to demonstrate and model your five starter signs in context rather than focusing on correcting your baby and you’ll see more signs enter the vocabulary.


Sometimes as parents we become so goal-driven on our child’s development, so attached to measuring milestones, that we forget that learning and teaching should be fun. Playing is your baby’s most constructive learning method. If your child isn’t interested in storytime signing, but loves to splash, practice signs in the bathtub. Be patient, persistent and have fun with those little fingers while they are still small enough to mold in your hands.

Don’t forget that modeling is just one of many tools to guide your child in a learning process. Continue to work contextually, use visual aids such as baby sign language flash cards and enlist the help of family and friends to reinforce signing.

Sign Language for Babies Can Make Babies Easier!

Babies are born ready to communicate.  So why do they just eat, sleep and cry?  Because their motor control has not caught up with their desire to express themselves!  Most babies (thank goodness!) are born knowing how to breathe and swallow and cry.  They have control over very little else about their bodies.

To talk, babies must develop fine motor control of their vocal cords.  They begin to get intelligible, intentional words at some point between 9 and 15 months old on average.  Lots of things can affect that time line and push it later.  Temperament, genetics, illness, stress, older siblings, bilingual influences are just a few examples.  Getting enough language to be able to express ideas like “I’m hungry” or “my stomach hurts” or “it’s too cold in here” can take a child more than two years to express with spoken language.  So, most babies have a year or two of frustrations because of their lack of s fundamental expressive language.

Gross motor skills take much less time begin significant development.  The ability to push, pull, grab, and otherwise move hands and arms are well within the abilities of most 6-12 month olds.

Children who learn to use these gross motor skills to meet their own expressive language desires experience less frustration!  That’s right, Baby Sign Language is a great way for small children to express their needs and desires before they could possibly learn to talk.

Before medical school, I trained as an American Sign Language interpreter.  Seven or so years later, when our first son was born, my husband and I decided to see if he could learn some signs.  We started with “milk.”  When he was about four months old (though I now know you can start younger) we would wrap a huge hand around his little one and make the sign for milk with him and then immediately feed him.  It didn’t take long for him to approximate that sign when he was hungry.  Oh, he would still cry!  But as soon as he had our attention he would stop crying and start signing.

Since that time, we’ve had three more sons.  They each have different temperaments and personalities, but they have all learned signs in the first few months of life that have eased our communication.

Baby Sign Language won’t cure colic.  It won’t change a baby’s personality.  It will help you understand better what your baby wants.  It will teach your child they can count on you to figure out what she wants.  Even better, BSL can help your child learn, from a very young age, to ask for things respectfully!

Teach great habits.  Use BSL to model respect for your baby’s needs.  Use BSL to teach your baby to ask for things with a “please” and then respond with a “thank you!”

Dr. G (Deborah Gilboa, MD) is a board certified family physician, mother of four and professional parenting speaker and writer who works with parents to help them raise children they can respect and admire. She is also fluent in American Sign Language. To learn more about Dr. G visit or on Twitter @AskDocG