10 Baby Sign Language Signs We Use Most Often

I’ve taught both of my girls sign language from the day that they were born. It’s always been something that was extremely important to me and it has paid off rather well. My first daughter, Harlan, started signing around nine months. We were able to almost fully understand her wants and needs solely on the signs that she showed us by the time that she turned one.

Avery started signing a couple of months ago and knows “milk” and “eat.” As she gets older, I expect her sign language ability to grow and flourish so that we will be able to communicate with one another better.

When I started signing with both girls, we started with the basics. The very first sign that I taught them was “milk” because I was nursing them all of the time. As they got older and more activities became a part of our daily routine, we incorporated more signs. Once we had our daily routine down, the signs just slowly became a normal part of that routine. I don’t expect us to add many more as Avery gets older because soon she will be able to talk and verbally communicate what she needs. But for the time being, there are 10 signs that we use the most during our everyday routine.

Here’s a glimpse into our nightly routine (yes, I am in my pajamas, don’t judge) that shows what signs I use most often and how to do them. Check them out below! 

  • Eat 1 of 10
    Avery started solids at six months. As soon as she ate her very first solid, I began using this sign. Put your thumb to the tips of your fingers and pretend like you are putting food into your mouth. I always make sure that I am saying the corresponding meaning to the word as I do the sign.
  • More 2 of 10
    After every couple of bites of her food I show Avery this sign for "more." For this sign, simply put both hands in the same position as "eat" and tap both hands together. I also use this sign if Avery is having a snack and runs out of something. She doesn't use this sign yet, but knows what it means. Her reaction to it is either with a smile and jumping up and down, which means yes. If she doesn't want more she will usually just sit there and stare at me.
  • Drink 3 of 10
    We just started using a sippy cup with water during her meals. As I give her the sippy cup, I do the corresponding sign. Take your hand as if you are grabbing a cup and bring it to your face like you are about to take a drink of it. This was my oldest daughter's second sign and is fairly easy for them to do early on.
  • All Done 4 of 10
    All Done
    I always want to show Avery that there is an ending time to any meal. Make both hands like a five and face your palms towards you. Then you want to turn your hands and palms facing outward. I am in the middle of the sign in the picture shown. This sign doesn't just have to be used during meal time, but can also be used once they are finished playing with toys, bath time, etc.
  • Bath 5 of 10
    After Avery gets herself good and dirty from dinner, it's bath time. Put both of your hands in a fist and put them to your chest. Move your hands up and down as if you are scrubbing or using a washboard. Avery always gets very excited when she sees this sign because she loves bath time.
  • Diaper 6 of 10
    This sign is used all day long because Avery is always in need of a diaper change. Take your pointer finger and your middle finger and slowly tap your thumb to those two fingers. This sign is supposed to be done at the waist but sometimes it's harder for Avery to see it there so I bring it up a little bit.
  • Mommy 7 of 10
    Although Avery knows how to say "mama" I still want her to use the sign. Simply put your hand like a five and bring it to your chin, with your thumb touching your chin. This was the second sign that I taught Avery after "milk."
  • Daddy 8 of 10
    Daddy is used just as often as mommy is in our house. We use this when my husband approaches her or if I hand her over to my husband. This sign is very similar to the "mommy" sign. Rather than bringing your hand to your chin, for this sign you will bring your hand to your forehead.
  • Milk 9 of 10
    I mentioned that this was the very first sign that I taught both of my girls because I nursed them all day, every day, from day one. Because I used it so often with them, it was the first sign that both of them learned to do themselves. You can notice from the picture that as soon as I do the sign with Avery she immediately grabs my shirt because she knows what is coming next. Put your hand in a fist and open and close that fist like you are milking a cow.
  • Sleep 10 of 10
    Although I don't think this is the ASL version of "sleep" this is what I use with Avery. I have seen it used before by others and it is a fairly common sign for sleep. Simply put both of your palms together and rest the side of your head on your hands as if you are laying down on a pillow. After I finish nursing Avery and it is time for bed, I show her this sign and she immediately knows that lights are about to go out and she is going to be placed in her crib.

More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:

  • 20 Gifts to Commemorate Baby’s First Christmas

Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram! Check out more of Lauren’s Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year.

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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