We all know our babies are smart, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have trouble understanding what they want at times. While babies are learning how to talk from the day they’re born, according to the director of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Dr. Diane Paul, they haven’t had enough practice to verbally communicate with us until about six or seven months of age, and even at that their speech focuses more on tone and inflection versus forming actual words.
If our child knows what they want but can’t verbally express it to us, how can we better communicate with them? Many recommend baby sign language. Dr. Jay Hoecker of Mayo Clinic says this modified version of American Sign Language is an effective communication tool as well as a fun activity to build stronger bonds between adults and babies. And the best part? It’s fairly easy to teach! As the popularity of baby sign language has grown, the world has produced more and more classes, online resources, and videos to help interested caregivers. Of course, there are also loads of books!
When picking out a book to help you and your child get into baby sign language, it’s important to find the one that works well for your family. Below are 10 of the best books out there, but before you run to make a purchase, it’s recommended that you take a look at the reviews to find out exactly what others liked and disliked about the styles and content. Flipping through the books at your local library or bookstore is also a great way to tell if you and your baby will benefit from the material.
Sign Language Books For Baby’s Hands
These board books have sturdier pages that are perfect for baby to hold and turn. The pretty pictures and simple wording help to keep their attention as you learn together.
Baby Signs Illustrated by Joy Allen
This book is perfect for beginners! With one sign per page and bright, big pictures, babies can take in the overall idea of sign language while adults can easily demonstrate the hand movements depicted at the bottom of each page.
My First Signs Illustrated by Annie Kubler
Colorful drawings convey some of the most common signs for babies in a simple way. With four-to-five signs on each of the big pages, this book is good for expanding on sign language practice. There’s also a nice tip for parents on each page to help them when introducing these signs. Other sign language series published by Child’s Play include Sign and Singalong and Sign About.
My First Baby Signs by Phil Conigliaro and Tae Won Yu
Who doesn’t like pull tab books? They’re so much fun, and this one has the added educational value! With simple sentences and simple movements, babies can both see and hear their new word.
Signing Smart: My First Signs by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert
Much like the pull tabs, no one can resist touch and feels! This book also places the signs into sentences, so babies get the added bonus of dual verbal and signing practice. The tabs on the side of each page can help you find specific words and signs to work on.
Sign Language Books For Kids & Their Parents
While these books may not be as captivating for babies, they’re still chock full of helpful signs and information for adults teaching babies and a little older kids as well.
Baby Sign Language Made Easy by Lane Rebelo
This is a must have for adults interested in using sign language with their babies. It’s well organized with memory tips, similar signs, guides for when to use, and advice on what to look out for.
Rebelo’s 14 years of experience teaching sing language through TinySigns.com shine through in both this book and its follow-up: The Complete Guide to Baby Sign Language which is another amazing book to have in your collection if you want to teach your baby/toddler and even other family members sign language.
Teach Your Baby to Sign by Monica Beyer
Based off of the illustrated card deck by the same name, this is another must-have. It not only has over 200 signs, but also activities to do with the signs. This keeps learning fresh and fun for your baby as they grow into toddlers.
Signs of a Happy Baby by William Paul White and Kathleen Ann Harper
While this book does have a small collection of signs at the back, Signs of a Happy Baby is much more useful as an informative source for the how-tos and benefits of using baby sign language. It’s filled with personal anecdotes from other parents, though, so this book gives you a sense of connection you might not get from your standard sign language book.
Sign Language for Babies & Toddlers by Christopher Brown and John Clements
This book fits perfectly in the diaper bag! It provides a nice flow between information about baby sign language, the basics of getting started, and the large collection of signs drawn out with action arrows. An index at the back of the book will help you find any specifics you’re looking for.
Baby Sign Language Basics by Monta Z. Briant
This is another great book for the diaper bag. Briant’s book goes into much more detail than Sign Language for Babies and Toddlers and has over 300 ASL signs depicted alphabetically in the back of the book. It’s perfect for those who really want to dive into baby sign language practice.
And speaking of practice, remember that depending on the baby it’ll take some some time to sign back to you. Stay your course, don’t give up and eventually they’ll start signing back at you!