Take up signing too late is very common concern. Many parents think that an 18 month old is too late on the scene to learn and benefit from signing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Let me ask, does your 18 month or 20 month old speak fluently? Does your baby speak all the words they want, and need to? Does your baby throw temper tantrums out of frustration because they can’t express themselves? If the answer is no to the first two questions and yes to the last, then your baby can still use signs.
The fact of the matter is that signs can be taught to an older baby much easier than a younger baby. This makes teaching an important word, a word that your baby wants to use, simple. There’s no reason to let your baby struggle to make their thoughts known verbally when teaching them a sign can be done in just a few seconds.
In addition, the research is clear that even babies taught to sign later on can benefit long term from the use of signs, just as younger babies do. Signing works more of the brain and so language centers are enhanced and this is independent of age. The benchmark is that babies as old as 3 can use signs to their advantage. So if you have a baby under 3, strongly consider teaching them to sign. While it might not form the bulk of the words they say, the signs they do learn will help them clarify their thoughts and grow their vocabulary.