Tools to Teach Your Child Sign Language

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/2/2006 | Parenting

Baby signing language has been recognized as a very effective tool of communication between the parents and the children. As the child finds out a way to share his joys and fears and all sorts of difficulties with an adult, he no more finds any issue to be frustrated with. So the parents get in the place of a crying and nagging baby a happy, confident, and cheerful child who knows that his parents are right there to help him out in his every need. Thus, the parent-child bond is also strengthened through the signing language.

Now when you have decided to teach your child the sign language, first of all you have to learn the language yourself.

What is the best way to do that?

You have two options:

  • Join a course
  • Learn it by yourself

Joining a course may prove to be costly. Whereas self-teaching method is not only simple and less expensive, it is self-fulfilling too.

Now to carry on with a self-teaching method, you will need to invest in a range of tools to master the art of signing.


You might be familiar with the old adage, that there can be nothing that cannot be learned by reading books! But, in case of signing language, the rule is slightly different. That is, books may help you to learn the sign language, but to a limited extent. The chief aid for getting accustomed to the sign language and its use is to follow the videos. If you have to pick up things by reading a book, you have to supplement it with the demonstration provided by a live video.


The reason that video is more helpful than book, is video helps you to watch the entire action and you get both the auditory as well as visual clues relating to the proper usage of the language. Then you can repeat the video over and over again to get the clearer picture. Video becomes more helpful if you need to teach the language to other caregivers such as grand parents. The video is easy to share and all the family members can easily learn from it.

However for older children, books are great tools to make them interested in the learning process. When reading becomes the tool for teaching your child the signs, the child becomes easily fascinated, because he also becomes the part of whole process. However, when you are teaching your child sign by reading from storybooks, make it a point to utter the words loudly and clearly. As for example, you can read out to your toddler stories on bedtime activities that will make him interested to pursue his nighttime duties without any fuss.


Music can be a great vehicle for teaching your child the sign language. The rhythm in music easily fascinates the child mind and helps them better memorize the things that you teach them with the help of songs. As for example, you can use the nursery rhyme, Old McDonald to teach your child the names of a number of animals. But start with one at a time.

If you are using any standard sign language as ASL, then invest in a good chart of the signs. If you have worked out your own signs, then also take the trouble to make yourself a chart consisting of major signs. Then put it up in the common place in the home where everybody can have a look at it and share it.