10 Most Important American Sign Language Signs for Babies and Toddlers

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Baby sign language is not something I was particularly familiar with before having my first child. However, after exploring the topic a bit I decided to teach her some signs in official American Sign Language. From what I read it made more sense to teach her some of the official ASL signs than baby sign language because it gives her a slight head start in learning ASL (which we have been exploring more now that she is 3).

My efforts were targeted to be the most useful signs for her to be able to communicate her needs and cut down on our mutual frustration. I am sure different families will decide other signs are most important for their lives to run smoothly; however, this list comprises the American Sign Language signs that I think are most useful for babies and toddlers to communicate their needs. Click on the words below to see the hand gestures for each of these signs as demonstrated on the useful website American Sign Language University.

American-sign-language-young-children-babies-toddlers

Top 10 Most Useful Signs for Babies and Toddlers:

1) Milk

2) Hungry

3) Hurt

4) Thirsty

5) More

6) Up

7) Down

8) Please

9) Thank You

10) Mother/Father

I hope these signs are as useful to all of you as they have been for our family. It is such a relief when a young child can communicate their needs in a way that doesn’t involve that piercing shriek when they feel unheard. I noticed an immediate reduction in my daughter’s frustrated outbursts when I began to really implement signing into our day to day interactions.  She picked up most of the signs surprisingly quickly and I am having the same quick success in teaching our younger daughter to sign these days.

Which signs would be most helpful for your family? Have you used sign language successfully with your young children? I would love to hear about your experiences!

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10 thoughts on “10 Most Important American Sign Language Signs for Babies and Toddlers

  1. We use signs with our nearly 2-year-old daughter who is speech delayed. It has cut down on a lot of frustration both ways for us. She is able to sign “milk” “drink” “please” “more” and a few others. We are working with speech therapy and they strongly encouraged signing for communication.

    1. I’m glad y’all find sign as helpful as we do! I’ve noticed even now that my older daughter is almost 4, when she REALLY likes something she will still subconsciously sign “more” while she’s verbally asking, it’s pretty cute. She also loves helping her little sister learn signs.

  2. Both my kids used sign- my littlest still does, as he’s 20 months and still learning to speak. He picks up signs very quickly, and actually makes his own… he created his own sign that he uses for cake/cookie (too many family birthday parties in February led to a sweet tooth!) and another he used to use to ask us to turn on The Wiggles, hahaha.

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