Babies have the motor skills to sign back between 8 and 11 months, typically when first waves for "BYE-BYE" and the "PICK ME UP" gesture starts. So this is when productions or expression of signs can typically appear. But understanding or the ability to receive signs can occur much earlier.
Babies younger than 8 months may get excited about seeing the sign for "
Joanne, a WeeHands Instructor in
I did get an email a few years ago from one mom I taught. Her daughter at 5 months was signing an approximation (B-shape hands, not S-shape or X-shape hands) of the sign for "CHANGE", after her diaper was dirty! Keep in mind that all babies our different – my own NEVER signed or said that they needed to be changed!
The area of a baby's brain that is responsible for understanding what is seen (occipital lobe) develops before the area of what is heard (temporal lobe). So young babies can understand what they see before they understand what they hear!
Sign early, sign often and make it fun & relevant for baby!
Sara Bingham is the author of The Baby Signing Book and the founder of WeeHands, a sign language program with instructors across
Since 2001, WeeHands has taught thousands of families and caregivers across