Frequently asked questions

What is baby signing?

There are 2 main types of sign language used in the UK, British Sign Language (BSL) and MAKATON. BSL is the language of the deaf community, MAKATON is a simplified version of BSL, used by children and adults with speech difficulties. Baby sign is a simplified version of BSL, very similar to MAKATON but unlike BSL and MAKATON, baby signing is used specifically with hearing babies that have not yet started to talk and is designed to encourage speech.

How easy is it for me to learn to sign?

Very easy! Many signs are based on natural gestures, you will already know several signs, you can probably guess what the sign for ‘book’ is without even realising you know it. You will learn everything you need to know to start signing with your baby in our Foundation Course.

At what age should I start teaching my baby to sign?

Some people start signing to their babies from birth, whilst this can give babies a greater understanding of what you’re saying to them, they won’t be able to sign back until they have conscious control over their hand movements, which begins when they are around 6 months old. Most people choose to attend a class when their child is around 6 months old.

What if my baby doesn’t sign back?

Be patient and persistent! Children learn at different rates. Your child will sign back to you when they are ready.

Will signing stop my baby from talking?

Absolutely not! When you sign to your baby, it is important to speak the words you’re signing, in this way, your child will associate the sign with the word. Research shows that signing with your baby encourages speech development. If your baby can sign, they are already thinking about the words and enjoying being able to ‘talk’ to you.

How easy is it for my baby to learn to sign?

Very easy! If your baby can clap their hands and wave, they are already signing to you!

When will my baby start to sign back to me?

All children are different and learn at different rates. The average baby is physically able to sign when they are around 6 months old but it might take several weeks or even months before they start to sign back. As with all new skills, the younger the baby, the longer it will take them to learn new signs, the older, the quicker. Even if your baby isn’t signing back, they will have a greater understanding of what you are saying if you sign when you talk.

What are the benefits of baby signing?
  • It encourages speech development.
  • It supports intellectual development.
  • It’s easy to learn.
  • It reduces the need for a child to cry or point to get their message across.
  • It reduces frustration and tantrums (yours and theirs!).
  • It strengthens the bond between child and carer because you can really understand one another.
  • Signing helps create a peaceful home.
  • Baby signing is based on British Sign Language and is a skill for life. Even when your child can talk, it’s still a useful skill.