Parents Using Sign Language to Communicate with Babies

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If you're a parent you know how exciting it is to hear your child talk for the first time. You also know how frustrating it can be not knowing what they're trying to tell you.

So, how would you like to communicate with your child before they even say their first word?

Parents are turning to baby sign language. But, is it a good idea and does it actually work?

Melissa Gandrud has been teaching baby sign language for two years through a worldwide program called Baby Signs.

"It reveals how smart babies are," Gandrud said.

For six weeks parents and babies attend a sign and play class at Cloud 9 Baby store in College Station.
Each week has a different theme, from meal time to bath time.

And signs are taught that correspond with each activity.

It gives mom, dad and baby the foundation to communicate with one another.

"If you take away that ability to be able to talk we naturally gesture to get our point across. Babies do the same thing," Gandrud said.

Gandrud recommends signing with your baby by nine months.
The most typical age range for first signs is between 10 and 14 months, but it really depends on the child.

"The joy on your face when you see your baby sign back for the first time is just amazing," Gandrud said.

The babies in the class are in the first stage, comprehending baby sign.

Later Gandrud says they'll be able to imitate the sign then spontaneously tell you what they want and need.

Mom Kristi Addington went through the program with her daughter Becca.

Becca started signing around her first birthday.

"They're able to communicate their needs and their wants, things they remember," Addington said.

Becca is now 22 months old and is starting to drop her signs for words. But she still uses baby sign if she's not understood.

"You have no idea what your child is aware of because they can't verbally communicate it, but they are aware of so much and they remember so much that they just can't express yet," Addington said.

Research has found that baby sign language reduces frustration, makes talking easier, boosts children's self esteem, stimulates intellectual development and strengthens the parent-child bond.

Even daycares are turning to baby sign language

Rainforest ChildreNinos School in College Station uses baby sign language to teach foreign languages including Spanish, French and Portuguese.

The daycare's director Adilia Frazer says communicating with the children through baby sign makes a huge difference.

"We're able to understand and help them care for them and educate them better," Frazer said.

And that's why parents are electing to teach their children baby sign language.

They want to get a glimpse into their child's mind and personality before they even say their first word.

To find out more about Baby Signs Classes with Melinda Gandrud check out her website or you can email her at