The phase during which my daughter would sign "all done" when she was finished eating ranks up there as one of my all-time favorites. There's nothing cuter than watching your child learn to communicate for the first time. I remember, though, that it was daunting figuring out how to start teaching her to sign, and I wish I had found these baby sign language videos back then, because they probably would've made the process so much easier.
Baby sign language videos are a great tool to have when you're teaching your little one to sign, and sign language is an amazing way babies can actually communicate early on. "Children are able to communicate through sign language earlier than they are able to use spoken language. As a result, parents and children are able to bond using this shared system of communication," says Shelby Rideout, founder of Bright Signs Learning, in an interview with Romper. Rideout suggests starting to sign with your baby as early as 6 months, with any time in the first year being the optimal time for babies to pick up signs quickly.
One of the reasons that most parents consider using sign language is to help their soon-to-be-toddlers start to communicate and mitigate frustration that might arise because they can't express themselves. Rideout explains, "One of the benefits that parents appreciate the most is decreased frustration and tantrums. Babies reach a critical phase where they know what they want but may be unable to communicate it to their caregivers. Sign language gives them a way to communicate their needs." This is why Rideout suggests starting with signs that your baby will likely use most frequently, like more, no, yes, mommy, and daddy.
If your baby is older than a year and you're just getting on the sign language train, there are still ways it can benefit your child, according to Rideout, like increased IQ and vocabulary and boosted early reading acquisition.
Here are a bunch of simple videos to get you started if you're interested in teaching your baby to sign.
1. Baby Sign Language By Patty Shukla Music
This sweet song by Patty Shukla is so calming and includes all the best baby sign language basics. You'll easily be able to sing and sign along with your baby. Shukla also has a range of phonics songs that teach the signs for letters of the alphabet and the words that start with them.
2. Baby Einstein Sign Language
With legendary deaf actress Marlee Matlin teaching, this Baby Einstein sign language video is a sure bet. It includes some basics like family, mommy, and kiss, and features puppets, illustrations, and graphics that will catch your baby's eye. Matlin is also the mastermind behind the app Marlee Signs, which teaches the basics of American Sign Language.
3. Bright Signs Learning Video Dictionary
Rideout shares simple signs on her Instagram account, and this video teaching how to sign "help" is useful — it's definitely one that your little one will be using often, especially once they fully understand what it means). Rideout also has an extensive video dictionary on her website where she shares how to sign over 100 basic words.
4. Six Signs To Teach Your Baby From Bundoo
In this video, Bundoo Speech Therapist Cara Barthelette introduces six signs that are helpful to get your newly independent baby communicating their needs including more, please, all done, and more. She starts with signs that signify requesting, because they are the most often used.
5. Baby Sign Language from Baby Songs TV
This is a sweet video that is easy to watch together with your baby, although you might want to break it into chunks, since it runs about 55 minutes long. It includes little cartoons to illustrate various signs, and then an adult explains the word as babies and toddlers try them out. The featured grown-up who explains the signs is cheerful without being annoying, which helps in these videos!
6. Teaching Baby Sign Language from Nyle DiMarco
Nyle DiMarco is possibly the most enthusiastic signer in this whole collection of videos. In this video, he shares why you should teach your baby to sign in addition to a few basic baby sign language words. It's also incredible to watch how quickly he can sign the explanations. It's mesmerizing!
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.