How Babies Learn to Sign Back to You
“We started signing with our little one but nothing happened so we gave up”.
I often hear from parents that they tried signing with their baby but stopped because it wasn’t working.
Unfortunately they gave up too soon!
With any developmental skill, it’s important to be realistic -and patient- about our expectations, and it may help to understand a bit more about the processes involved in learning a physical skill like baby signing.
Our babies will learn anything and everything we show them consistently, with lots of repetition and context.
1️⃣ The first stage of babies learning to sign is always reception. Babies will watch you and take in what you show them, no matter their age, stage or abilities. Don’t let them fool you into thinking they’re not paying attention, babies see EVERYthing!
2️⃣ Then comes response. Babies will begin to put together the context you show them as you present signs alongside your daily activities (my daughter Ella would almost take flight by flapping her arms in excitement when I signed MILK before feeding!).
3️⃣ Then babies will start attempts to mimic back what they see their parents doing. This will most likely look clumsy, like a new St. Bernard puppy working out how to use its oversized paws.
4️⃣ Then, when a baby has developmentally reached the physical stage of being able to move their hands independently, their signs will slowly start taking shape and look more intentional. Their “babbling” hands will develop as they gain more dexterity.
Throughout all of these stages, we can pay attention and support their efforts as they spend time in each one. And be patient.
Generally speaking, babies can start signing back around 8-12 months old.
Parents in my classes are always curious about the end result of seeing their baby sign back when we start learning and showing signs to their little ones.
But it’s important to see each stage of learning unfold at your cutie’s pace, and keep building. #dontgiveup
❓ What stage is your baby at with signing❓