Sign Language: How to Pick the Signs to Teach Your Children

As you all know, I am working on teaching sign language to both my one year old Ev and my three year old. Recently I posted about how we are learning sign language. However I everyday I say out loud about a thousand times “Oh, I should look up that sign!” but then, of course I could never remember what the signs were later that night to go look them up. So, I came up with a real simple solution.

I carried around a pad of paper and a pen for a whole day and wrote down all the words that I find myself using often with my son.

Simple, right? I ended up with a nice list of words that we use on a regular basis. My plan is to try to teach myself a few signs a day. If I stick to just a few a day (or every other day) and use them daily, I will soon have a much bigger repertoire of signs that are based on my child’s interests and needs. The more I use them, the more likely my children will learn them.

Because I have taken sign language courses (a while back) and have used ASL in my speech therapy sessions in the past, I am finding myself going “Oh yeah, I remember that one!” on most of the signs I look up!

So this is one simple way to determine the signs that you want to work on with your little ones. I hope this will help some of you who want to learn sign language with your child but feel overwhelmed at the prospect. In addition to using these words, we are watching the first four volumes of the Signing Time series.

If you are signing to your children how to you pick the signs you are working on?



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  1. Paxton says

    That’s a great idea! I love the Baby Signing Time series! My sister introduced me before my first was born and we watched that and Baby Einstein Sign Language videos all the time!
    She still randomly throws out signs a lot, but we were a lot more lazy with our second. Still the basics were a life saver before they can talk!

  2. says

    Katie! Tmrw I’m having a promotion on Signing Time DVDs!! Great post – if I figure out how to re-post I’m going to do that on my site :)!

  3. says

    I, too, kept trying to remember to look up signs later. I tried to remedy that keeping an ASL dictionary in my daughter’s room which mostly did the trick. I still had to search on-line for a few harder to find insect and phrase signs, a notepad and pen would have been so helpful! I’m absolutely going try that this time around.

  4. says

    I have been signing with my daughter since she was 10 months. She is now 2.5 and has been signing regularly while talking. Then she comes to someting she doesn’t know how to sign so she will ask me. I have a smart phone now so I have bookmarked to look it up. Either that or I will put a note in my phone to look up a word. :)

    • says

      Signingsavvy is where I go to! Its the only place I found “Bless you” . @Lauren, my 23 month old still signs occasionally but it decreased as her vocabulary increased. How did you maintain the signing?