7 Benefits Of Signing With Your Baby

Ad failed to load

Baby sign language — a modified version of American Sign Language used with preverbal infants and toddlers — is an amazing way to communicate with your little one. The purpose is to help children too young for verbal cues to communicate via signing, which may help avoid the frustration of unmet needs due to inability to "say" what they want. While it's not a substitute for basic gestures (like reaching to be picked up), it's a good companion for social development communication and a unique way to bond.  In fact, the benefits of signing with your baby are certainly something you should consider before opting out.

Laura Berg, founder of My Smart Hands, a baby sign language program and author of The Baby Signing Bible, tells Today's Parent the ideal ages to begin signing with your baby is "between four and eight months." This is when you'll be doing the bulk of the signing, "until they've developed motor skills to sing in return (between six and eight months)." Choose a few common signs to start, but don't stop verbally speaking with them, as they each are important to their development, according to The Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic goes on to add that you should be realistic with your expectations, persistent with the repetition of speaking and signing those common words, and most of all, remain patient. As with all things associated with parenting, patience is key. So, still on the fence about signing? Well, here are a few of the benefits you could be providing for your child:

Ad failed to load

A Better Bond


Communication bridges the gap between misunderstanding and understanding. And if your baby can't properly communicate their wants and needs, how can you possibly provide both? BabySignLanguage.com says signing together strengthens your bond with your baby, writing that it also, "increases that feeling of closeness." With a few key moves, you and your baby could be on the path to better understanding one another, which can only make your bond that much stronger.

Less Tantrums


Dr. Joseph Garcia, who founded the "Sign With Your Baby" system tells, ABC News that a baby's brain is fully capable of learning to sign, and "the more signs babies learn, the more it could reduce those tantrums that come with the terrible twos [because] they're not as frustrated with communicating what's on their minds."

If your baby can "tell" you want they want, it's less likely they'll become frustrated or throwing a tantrum because of it. If you teach your baby signs for things like "hungry," "milk," or "tired," you're giving them a way to communicate before they become verbal. This should eliminate your own frustration, too, when it seems impossible to figure out why your baby is fussy.

Higher IQ


A 2000 NIH-funded study claims that babies who sign may have a higher IQ by as much as 12 points over the long-term. The research suggests that reasoning skills, coupled with language, helps develop an expanded vocabulary. In turn, those kids read earlier, better, and go on to do better in school.

Ad failed to load

Enriched Language Development


Dr. Sharri Garrett tells ABC News:

Once your baby masters the signs that help them communicate, it's a Domino effect, transferring into other developmental areas, specifically language, communication, and because of the direct eye contact with signing, social skills.

It's A "Fun" Way To Learn


There's a lot of ways to teach your baby things, and those lessons don't have to be boring to be effective. Think of each sign as a new, interactive game. When you go back-and-forth signing, it's not only education, it's fun. And in the end, that's the ultimate goal, right?

It Promotes Higher Self-Esteem


According to PsychCentreal.Com, "infants who learn baby sign language also are thought to gain psychological benefits, such as improved confidence and self-esteem." If your baby is capable of communicating their needs, they're bound to feel good about themselves. Psychologist Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon of the University of Stirling, UK, explains further, saying that while there's still more research needed to establish long-term, concrete evidence, there's a distinct connection between a "vocabulary and mental development." Couples with less tantrum-throwing and a stronger bond with their parent(s), would make any child more confident.

Ad failed to load

You Understand Each Other Earlier


If communication is the foundation for all relationships, why not begin establishing that foundation as soon as possible with your child? Signing won't fix all communication breakdowns, but it might give you an alternative while you're waiting for your baby to become verbal.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack