Signing Saturday: Using DVDs to Teach Sign

Back in my post on How YOU Can Learn ASL, I mentioned that one way you can learn ASL is to watch videos, specifically the Baby Signing Time and Signing Time series of videos. How can you use these videos to teach yourself and your littles sign language?

 Why Signing Time Videos?

I LOVE Signing Time products (which is why I became a certified Baby Sign Language instructor through the Signing Time Academy). Here are some reasons why I love these videos:

  • Music and Song: These videos use a lot of music and original songs to help teach sign. LOVE the songs! (You can also buy the songs on CD). They are not too simplistic that they are borning and yet not too complicated for little ones to learn easily.
  • Repetition: The videos use lots of repetition to help teach the signs. This is SO KEY to learning new things!
  • Kids Teaching Kids: The videos have footage of real little ones signing! Remember the little guy from Meet the Fockers who used sign language? He is in some of the Baby Signing Time videos! REAL kids who REALLY sign….LOVE!
  • Multi-Sensory Approach: The Signing Time videos reinforces the spoken word, images of the word, signing the word within context, signing the word within song, as well as provides the written word on the screen. Add an attentive parent sitting nest to the child to help teach the child the signs hand-over-hand when needed…and you have multi-sensory approach to learning!

Tips for Using Video to Teach Your Littles Sign Language:

Whichever signing videos you choose to use, I do have some tips to help you use the videos effectively.

  • You must NOT just put the movie in, push play, and walk away! For your child to really benefit from the videos, it is important that you sit with your child as he/she watches the video.*
  • Engage your child during the video: Talk about what you see and hear on the screen.
  • Demonstrate the signs that Rachel and others are talking about.
  • Sing along with Rachel and sign along as well (Don’t worry…it won’t take long to memorize the songs!)
  • When appropriate, you can show your child how to make some of the signs hand-over-hand. I recommend only doing this for maybe a couple signs per viewing…unless your child seems like he would like you to do this more.
  • If you can…have some of the items in the video available for your child to manipulate while watching. For example, while watching Baby Signing Time Volume 1, you could have some foods and drink available (milk, cracker, cereal, banana) and give the items to your child as Rachel sings and signs about them. This will further the multi-sensory learning approach!
  • Don’t rely on videos alone to teach your children sign…though they are a GREAT tool, your children will learn from what they see daily so make sure to continue the learning by signing and singing all day about what you see, hear, smell, and feel.

*Ok, ok….who am I kidding? As parents we often will use a quick 30 minute video to keep the littles busy so we can get things make dinner or clean a bathroom…I realize that you very well may want to use signing videos for these breaks and honestly..that is OK! As long as you try to watch the videos at other times with your children as well and engage them during viewing. 😉

Hope you find these tips useful! happy signing!




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  1. Tasha says

    I love the Baby Signing Time DVDs. We also have some of the Signing Time DVDs that a friend handed down to us. We watch one or two signing time’s each morning before we go out on the town. My LO is 16 mo. Do you think two is too much or should she just watch one? She knows about 20-25 signs so far, and only speaks about 5, so the signs have been quite helpful. I’m torn with her learning from the videos and having too much screen time. Thoughts?

    • Katie says

      Hi Tasha! I personally would do one a day but then try to focus on teaching her signs throughout your day. I am the first to admit my son had screen time well before he hit age two, but you want to remember to use the signs in everyday situations as much as possible and remember to talk along the way :) Good luck!

  2. Anna says

    We love the Signing Time videos – my daughter and I have been watching them since she was about 5 months old and I was so proud when she singed more for the first time at about 9 months. She is 20 months now and even though she is speaking very well she still asks to watch them all the time and even signs and says baby and time when she wants to watch them. Her language is developing at a rapid pace and the videos I think helped her by letting her be able to communicate her needs before she could talk and not be so stressed out.