The time frame between when your baby can talk and when your baby wants to talk can feel like a long time. It could be as early as 6 months when your baby starts to notice what they want, and they might feel frustrated when they can’t ask for it. The solution to this challenge may be as simple as picking up one of these baby sign language books to bridge this gap.
Best Baby Sign Language Books
(Best for parents — $$$)
Why it’s great: This baby sign language book offers parents an effective and informative guide to teaching sign language to their baby. This sign language book breaks down multiple categories of different signs to start teaching your baby. With informative pages that give parents the ins and outs of teaching sign language to a baby or child, this book gives you all the tools you’ll need to be a baby sign language expert in no time.
Keep in mind: This book is more designed for parents to utilize.
Good for: Parents who want an informative guide on teaching their baby sign language.
(Best illustrations — $$)
Why it’s great: The “My First Book of Baby Signs” book offers babies and parents a fun guide to learning sign language together. Use the fun illustrations and storybook style to teach your baby up to 40 signs to help them communicate with you early on. With colorful illustrations that use babies and parents to demonstrate the signs, your baby will likely catch on to sign language quickly and have fun while doing so.
Keep in mind: This book is not available as a board book so you’ll still need to help your baby with it to avoid torn pages.
Good for: Parents who want to learn sign language alongside their baby.
(Best board book — $)
Why it’s great: This board book allows for your baby to take the reins on learning sign language without you having to worry about any pages getting torn. This simple guide to sign language gives your baby a great foundation on simple and useful signs to use to communicate things like “more”, “all done” and “milk”. The simple illustrations are cute an informative. This is the perfect introductory guide to teaching your baby some everyday signs.
Keep in mind: This book offers 13 essential signs.
Good for: Allowing babies to hold the book and look through the photos on their own.
(Great for learning together — $$)
Why it’s great: The “My First Signs” baby book is available in a board book style, allowing for you to learn with your child. This book offers helpful illustrations that feature young children demonstrating the signs and includes up to 40 signs for your baby to learn including “sleep”, “hug”, “mom”, “dad”, and more.
Keep in mind: The book pages are 11 inches in size so it is great for babies to hold but not the most travel friendly option.
Good for: Teaching American Sign Language to a young baby.
(Most interactive guide — $$$)
Why it’s great: The “My First Baby Signs” book features pull tabs that make the demonstration of signs super easy for you and your baby to grasp. This book features eight essential words which may not sound like much but these are likely all you’ll need to start slowly communicating with your baby.
Keep in mind: This book only features 8 signs, so it is great for teaching your baby the basics.
Good for: Parents who need a clear demonstration of each sign.
(Most in depth guide — $$)
Why it’s great: This thorough guide to teaching sign language to your baby offers an expert-level approach to teaching your baby all the way into toddlerhood. With over 200 signs, “The Complete Guide to Baby Sign Language” is perfect for parents who want a bit more than just the essential signs, and are really looking to delve into teaching sign language to their child. Offering fun activities and extra teaching methods, this is a great place to start if you’re hoping to teach your child to fully communicate with signs in the future.
Keep in mind: This book centers around American Sign Language.
Good for: Parents and children who want to learn a lot of signs.
(Most informative — $$$)
Why it’s great: “The Baby Signing Bible” offers an in-depth introduction that offers plenty of information on baby sign language and clearly reflects the expertise of the author who has done extensive research on this topic. If you’re looking to go a step further than simply teaching your baby the basic signs and you want to really become an expert on the topic yourself, then this is great choice for you.
Keep in mind: This book offers a lengthy introduction, so if you’re wanting to go straight to the sign diagrams it may not be the best option.
Good for: Parents who want to gain plenty of knowledge on baby sign language.
FAQs about Baby Sign Language Books
1. When will babies start to sign back?
Although most babies can begin signing between 8 and 12 months, every child is a little different, so try not to set expectations with your baby. They also may start to understand the signs sooner than they are able to sign back. So, the more you use the signs around them the sooner they will be able to understand them and sign back to you.
2. Why teach a baby sign language?
Baby sign language is a great way to bridge the gap between the time when a baby cannot communicate at all and the time when they are actually speaking. Sign language provides a fun and educational activity for parents to try with their babies. Communication can be frustrating for babies once they get to be around 6 months old because they typically know what they want but are unable to actually ask for it. By teaching simple signs like “milk”, “eat”, and “more”, your baby will be able to ask for what they want before they can even speak. This makes life easier for you and your baby!
3. Can babies learn sign language?
Yes! Babies can absolutely learn to sign with their parents and can easily understand the signs you demonstrate for them. Typically, it isn’t until they reach the age of about 8 months that they’ll be able to sign back but by starting to teach at a young age they’ll quickly catch on and learn to ask for what they want.
4. How to teach babies sign language?
When it comes time to start teaching your baby sign language, you can easily start by picking up one of the books on this list! By having a foundation on the topic yourself, you’ll easily be able to teach these signs to your baby. Start by only teaching a few signs at a time, so you don’t overwhelm your baby. Also, go over the signs very slowly in the beginning so that your baby can clearly see what you are demonstrating. Repeat the signs frequently and demonstrate them in real-life situations. For example, if your baby is in their high chair and they’re finished with their food, you can ask them “do you want more?” while doing the sign for “more”.
5. When should you start teaching your baby sign language?
Since babies likely won’t be able to start signing back until at least the age of 8 months, you can start teaching baby signs around this age or slightly earlier. If your baby seems eager to communicate with you and already likes to move their hands a lot, this may mean that they’re ready. Remember that every baby develops at their own pace so you should never try to rush the process. Also, have patience because it will likely take some time for your baby to catch on to using sign language.
Sign language is an undeniably useful resource for every parent. Baby sign language can be used as a simple way to teach your child a few signs to help them communicate before they learn to talk, but it can also be extremely beneficial for children with special needs as well. For children who have developmental delays or trouble communicating, it may be worth it to give sign language a try to see if this is something that they feel comfortable using. Teaching sign language to your baby is a surprisingly simple process and can be downright fun for you and your baby! It all starts with finding some helpful resources to build a foundation on the topic yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of super informative books to choose from, whether you’re looking to become an expert on baby sign language or just want to learn a few of the basics.