Babies are receptive to signing as early as the day they are born. However, they won’t sign back until at least 6 months, usually around 9-10 months. The longer you wait to sign, the sooner your baby will sign back. However, this purpose of this blog post is not directed at this debate.
Rather, we’re looking at signs that your baby will actually be a productive signer himself. How do you know when a baby is ready to start signing? For starters, your baby should be able to hold themselves upright on their own. If baby doesn’t have the muscular strength and coordination to do this, it’s unlikely they will be able to move their hands to create meaning either. Next, your baby should be showing interest in the things you are doing and seem aware of what’s going on. Your baby should have some receptive sense as to what the words you are saying mean. For example, does your baby get excited or perk up when you mention the word “milk?” This means that your baby understands the word. The next step, and it’s a big one, is to actually sign the word – to use it expressively.
Often, babies are found to already be using signs. For example, a baby might wave bye-bye or reach their arms for up. If your baby can do a high-five for example, this too means your baby is ready. In our online course, we outline several other key symptoms that baby is ready to sign, but the gist of it is that you need a baby who is mentally ready and aware and whom is also able to coordinate their movements to create the hand movements.
If you think your baby is ready to sign then try starting with the first 3 key signs: MILK, MORE, and EAT. If you aren’t sure exactly where to start, sign up today!