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Baby signing

(20 Posts)
tillymama Sat 24-Oct-09 14:43:05


Just wondering if anyone has any experience of Baby Signing and if it's worthwhile?

I like the idea of DD being able to communicate easier, but do wonder how practical/easy it is to introduce? Also, which system to go for as I've heard of Tiny Talk and Sign & Sing amongst others and I have no idea if they are all the same thing under different names or not?

Financially, I can really only afford to go down a book/dvd route rather than weekly lessons - but is it still doable without going to a class?

Hope someone can help?


purepurple Sat 24-Oct-09 16:00:16

I work in a nursery and we had a lovely lady come in for a few months to do baby signing with the babies in the baby unit.
It was very worthwhile doing it. The babies all learnt ot do signs for things like hello, thank you and drink. It was really sweet.
Babies do understand more than we give them credit for.

chegirlknowswhereyoulive Sat 24-Oct-09 16:28:06

Basic signs are pretty easy to learn. I wouldnt recommend learning 'proper' signing from books or DVDs but basic baby signs would be fine.

I have signed with all my kids and use it a lot at work. I learned British Sign Language years ago (my Grandparents were both Deaf, sign users) so use BSL with my DCs.

I took DS3 to a local class because I dont like toddler groups much and thought it a good alternative. It was fun.

IME its best to learn sign through singing well loved songs.

Then concentrate on one sign a week starting with ones that you are likely to use most e.g. milk.

JJ1471 Sat 24-Oct-09 16:28:27

I've just started weekly classes with Sing and Sign. My baby is 9 months and I've not had any signs back yet although he does wave his hands about a lot, so maybe he's trying to say something! I'm really enjoying the classes and learning the signs, but to be honest he gets a bit fidgety and I do have to take toys along to entertain him for the hour long class. The songs are really for the parents to learn the signs, although they do mix it up with instruments, toys and background music. If he was a bit older or a bit more placid he might get more out of it. I paid £50 for a course of ten classes.

I recommended three of my friends and received a £5 voucher for each which enabled me to buy the first DVD, and this I would really recommend. It's about half an hour long and we watch it together, it has a lot of the songs from the class on it and contains lots of signs. It's basically a video of a class and there are lots of babies, animals and transport to look at too.

I'm not sure whether to continue with the classes next term, but I may buy the next DVD and just continue with the signs at home. There are also a variety of vocab books, I think that you can buy them direct from the website.

I think that there are some small differences between the signs that are used in different classes, but as long as you're consistent then it won't matter. I think that the main ones e.g. eat, drink, more etc. are the same.

There are also some websites with lots of free content, is one and also on the CBeebies website under Something Special. They have videos to show you how to make the signs.

Some of them offer a free first class if you wanted to give it a go and see what it was about.

I'm hoping that the signs will be useful to tell me what my baby wants, but I'm also hoping that it will be good for him to get his little brain ticking learning signs for animals and so on.

WonderBundlesMommy Sat 24-Oct-09 18:44:42

Tillymama - definitely doable. I have been signing with DS (17m) consistently since about 9m. At 13-14m he started to sign back! Since he doesn't have any verbal words yet, I can't begin to describe how immensely helpful it has been...highly recommended! I am doing proper signing with him. We did not do classes, just book/downloaded video route. He can sign more, eat, drink, milk, water, diaper, some animals, etc. The day that it all became worth it came this week at his audiology appointment (hearing is fine, just a check re: not talking). Without any prompting, he began to sign at the technician through the glass (we were in the soundproof booth). It never even occurred to me that she would understand him - but when she came racing through the door saying "He signs? He just signed "more bunny!" - it was awesome (they had been playing with bunny).

Can definitely be done without classes and is definitely worth doing! Good luck and have fun!

OnceWasMummyPig Sat 24-Oct-09 18:54:51

I've done it with all three. Ds1 I started out reading the Acredolo and Goodwyn books but then bought a Sign & Sign DVD and he loved it. It's really easy to incorporate the signs into your singing - after all loads of nursery songs have actions anyway. And it helped so much to avoid unnecessary tantrums when he was a toddler, e.g. if he was tired or he wanted a drink he could just tell me. Ds3 doesn't use these ones but frequently tells me when there are flies in the house smile blush or when someone else is sad.

With the other two I went to classes but that was partly so that we could mix with other kids and carers who used signs. It's very easy to do it without the classes.

I like Sing & Sign because the signs are similar to Makaton, which is used in creches and schools. And they are iconic whereas some (but certainly not all) of the official ASL or BSL signs are a bit harder to remember.

ellokitty Sat 24-Oct-09 20:26:22

Agree. I also used the Acredolo books. They are designed specifically for babies, so very easy for them to use. Never went to classes, great for socialising, if you want to do that sort of thing but totally unnecessary. The key is to just be consistent with your signing and to use it all the time. I did my DD signed loads - about 100 signs. At 12/13 months, she was able to tell me she was scared of the dark, when she wanted to look at washing machines, wanted to go in the garden, had seen an aeroplane and so on. For me, the best bit about it was getting a glimpse into her world. She could sign the things that she loved - clocks, washing machines, tumble driers, ducks, aeroplanes... none of the usual things, but all of these she could sign and request. The sing and sign DVD was quite good too, but used slightly different signs from the Acredolo books. However, Acredolo did produce a load of baby board books that we used to look at together and do the signs... there's about 8 signs in each book and about 4/5 books. They're a great way for learning the signs - as you can read the books together and do the signs.


cakeywakey Sat 24-Oct-09 20:38:32

Do it! I cannot recommend baby signing highly enough.

After good reports from friends of friends, I took DD to Sing and Sign classes for two terms from when she was 9 months old. As well as the weekly class, I also bought the DVDs so that we could watch it home together. Both were lots of fun.

I wasn't always consistent with using the signs, and DD wasn't signing during the terms that we went to classes, but when she was about 15 months it all fell into place and was just fantastic.

She could tell me when she wanted something to eat or drink, if she wanted more and ask questions like 'Where's the bird?' when we were out in the garden.

Being able to make herself understood meant that she was probably more content than she otherwise would have been, and as we were able to communicate clearly with each other, I was more content too!

When I told family that we were going to signing class, some were worried that it could stunt DD's speech. However, I've found that her speech is actually more advanced than many of her peers. Her vocabulary is larger and she can construct sentences and grasp concepts much more fluently, and I think that some of this can only be down to signing.

RGPargy Sat 24-Oct-09 20:45:26

Do it! do it! do it!! Very very good to help with communication between you and baby. DD is on stage 2 and absolutely loves it, despite being able to pretty much tell me what she wants now (she's nearly 2). She loves watching the DVDs and i join in with her as much as possible. We go to classes once a week too, which she also absolutely loves.

I cannot recommend it enough! I'd say it's definitely helped DD communicate with me MUCH MUCH earlier than my friends' non-signing babies.

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Sat 24-Oct-09 20:49:50

We've watched Something Special almost every day since DS was about 6mo (I think I deserve a medal for watching that many hours of Justin!). He knows A LOT of signs, lots of animals, but he can say 'more please', thank you, please, etc etc. Also, things like car, train, biscuit, lots more than I can't remember.

He's just talking now, but it's been so helpful, and I really think it's made a difference to lack of tantrums - he can tell me what he wants without me having to guess.

Do it!!

BertieBotts Sat 24-Oct-09 21:17:53

I do Sing and Sign classes with DS - I think if you want to learn the signs only, a DVD would be good enough. The classes are good for the social side and having an activity to get out to (though there are plenty of music/activity groups around which are cheaper).

The main difference between TinyTalk and Sing and Sign is that TinyTalk is a drop-in and you pay weekly (but can pay for 10 weeks in a block in advance if preferred) but Sing and Sign you pay for the whole term. We have missed one session due to illness and I was a bit annoyed that we'd missed it because we had already paid for it. However they seem to be flexible, e.g. one week we had someone in our class who usually came to the earlier one but had missed it, so sat in on our session instead.

I would also say that my DS is very active and always crawling around in the classes, but he still seems to take it in and it says on the website that it's ok for them to do this.

I don't know the difference between the signs used at either class though - I am finding that the signs used in Sing & Sign are different to ones in a book I have got by Amazing Baby. A lot of them are 2-handed as well which is a bit annoying as I thought baby signs were supposed to be one-handed so you can do them when holding your baby/toddler. And a couple of the songs learnt in the early classes are annoying - there is one that goes "More more I want some more" to the tune of Ring a ring a roses, but just reminds me of "ner ner ne-ner ner" which is probably just me being fussy grin

Dragonhart Sat 24-Oct-09 22:26:22

I have done signing (tiny talk) with all three of mine and think it is great. You dont need to go to classes weekly with them but if you could afford afew it would probably help you 'get' the idea of it all. I did quite afew with ds1 but barely went with dd2 and she still used the signs as we did them at home. I have just started going to them with dd3 who is 13months but we have been doing them since about 8month at home.

I bought a tiny talk book and it is very helpful with pictures of adults and children doing the signs.

TBH I dont think it matters if they do the signs right. To me it has always been about helping them communiicate their needs to me (as well as being a lot of fun!) While the signs for animals are fun, it is signs like 'drink' or 'food' or 'nappy' or 'milk' or 'tired/bed' that have been the most useful. If they are not doing them quite right as long as you know what they mean that is the important thing.

My dd2 has been a slow talker (something I am sure has not been contributed to by using baby sign) and I cant tell you how useful it has been for us.

scottishmummy Sat 24-Oct-09 22:31:18

i used to think middle class twaddle.wrong
we loved it

RGPargy Sat 24-Oct-09 22:33:37

I think some classes use Makaton signing and some (like Sing and Sign) use British Sign Language. Both I think are different from American sign language too so make sure whatever one you choose to do, you stick to that version.

Time2Hibernate Sat 24-Oct-09 22:45:21

Utterly brilliant. Can highly recommend it. We followed Sing and Sign as it was in our area and DS loved it. I bought the DVD which he would watch transfixed.

It took a little while, but suddenly he would make the signs, some clearer than others.

Don't take any notice of some people saying it delays speech development - DS has a huge vocabulary at 3yrs and I found he was less frustrated before he could talk by making signs for what he wanted.

You do have to learn them too otherwise you won't recognise what they want (!), but I found it easy and fun.

Time2Hibernate Sat 24-Oct-09 22:47:10

I have 2 DVDs you can purchase at bargain price if you are interested BTW. They can be quite expensive new.

McAli Sun 25-Oct-09 09:30:41

Hello, I'm new to the forum and was just about to ask the very same question about signing? Thanks Helen

My little one is eight months now and I was thinking about taking him to sing and sign when he is 9 months at the end of next month.

I am going to go back to work when he is 1 years old (boo hiss!). Will going back to work and not being with him every day have an impact on him learning the signs. I'm scared I will be wasting my money?


LeonieBooCreepy Sun 25-Oct-09 09:41:03

Message withdrawn

Time2Hibernate Sun 25-Oct-09 17:33:24


I was already back at work when my son was 8 months. They are like sponges, so just pick up where you leave off. Use the odd sign to reinforce the things they need or like the most. That's why I'd bought the DVD to carry on when out of class time. It's really nice parent and baby time too.

ellokitty Sun 25-Oct-09 21:13:17

I went back to work whilst I was signing too. Interestingly, my DD would sign to me and my parents (who also signed to her), but never signed at nursery. I did give them a copy of her signs, and at fist I think they thought I made it all up... until she wouldn't sign there, but then after a while she would sign as soon as I walked through the door!

Babies really do have far more intelligence than we often give them credit for I think!

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