But I don’t want my baby to watch videos!
ASL is a visual language. It makes sense to show your child a variety of people doing the signs you want them to learn. The Signing Time videos are made with care and feature your children’s peers signing. These are commercial-free educational videos that you will watch along side your child, while you both learn and interact. In addition, you get to see some of the variations and approximations young hands use to make the signs so that you can more easily recognize your own child’s first attempts to sign to you.
The play options are parent-friendly – you can choose particular chapters, reviews, or the first or second halves of the playing time. Of course, you make the call as to when, if or for how long your child watches. If you are wholly opposed to all video, know that the Signing Time videos are not essential to learning ASL or to learning through Signing Time. There are classes, board books and other materials available.
Are these “baby signs” made for baby hands?
No. Signing Time uses real American Sign Language – not made up “baby signs.” ASL is a full and complex language with an accompanying culture. Made up signs run the risk of being a different word or gesture in ASL or possibly insulting those whose use ASL as their native language. You want your child to learn the real language, just as you expect them to learn from real English. Children make approximations in sign, in the same way they start or change words when they are learning to speak. It is up to us to try to understand and model the proper signs/words for them as they grow.
When will my baby sign back to me?
It depends on your baby’s age and personal development, when you begin signing and how consistent you are with showing and repeating the signs. Babies are usually signing back to you between 10-14 months old, though some have been known to do it earlier, and they can recognize and understand signs much earlier.