When Can I Start Using Baby Sign Language (ASL signs) with my child?

I am often asked, “When can I start signing with my child?” The answer is never the same for each family, as each parent has their own reasons for using #babysignlanguage  their family.

Based on child development, babies are ready for signing when they start moving their eyes and head to track toys or their parents face. This shows they are interested in learning and ready to start communicating with you! When you start signing, your child may show you many new reactions. This could be a frustrated or confused face, an interested expression, moving their hands in different ways, or smiling. These are all good indications that your child is trying to figure out what you are saying with your hands. Keep using American Sign Language and soon your child will be signing back!

Most baby & toddler sign language instructors recommend waiting until your child is between the ages of 4 to 6 months of age. Children are meeting important milestones during this time including: eye contact, purposeful movement of arms/hands, and beginning to find new ways to engage with their parents such as squealing, smiling, cooing and babbling.

Parents may decide to start signing earlier or later. In fact, we have had children as young as 2 weeks up to 2.5 years of age in her classes. Basically parents can start signing with their baby or toddler when ready!

A key point about signing, is to be consistent! Start signing with 2-5 words, consistently during the day. However, add more ASL in every week as your child is wanting to learn more. Finally, watch your child for signing approximations and when they start signing or moving their hands to approximate a sign, reward them with praise or what they were asking for!

Happy Parenting,

Tanya Myrfield-Wolfe BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Language Instructor & Parent Educator

young baby    class 6   young baby1

Wednesday’s Word- September 16th

Wednesday’s word is “TOY”! Remember that children are motivated by specific signs and these will become very important to them.


Elijah’s second and third signs were “light” and “fan”. As parents, we never know what our child wants to communicate.

In the picture Elijah is signing toy at approximately 15 months of age.

New Words!

Elijah has been signing up a storm. Since Monday he has learned to sign: bear, lamb, banana, avocado and water. Today, I thought he was signing avocado so I went to cut and serve this food. However, when I came back with green cut avocado, Elijah looked at me shook his head and signed banana. I realized that these two signs look very close together at this point.

This was a good reminder that children use signing approximations at first until they perfect a sign!

Happy Signing