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Communicating before words

We all want to improve communication with our babies and young children. Learning to sign with your baby will open up a wonderful way of communicating long before words can be used.

Babies are amazing human computers waiting for us to load the data, they absorb information at an incredable rate. This is why a 5 year old can speak two or more languages fluently with no effort. Research shows that signing with babies from an early age enables them to communicate their feelings and thoughts to us in a way, which had not previously been recognised.

Young children often become frustrated because they are too hot, or hungry or just tired. You try to understand them, so you change their nappy, give them a drink or take them out to play! Is it any wonder they become angry when you get it wrong!


If you use simple and clear signs with your baby from around 6 to 8 months old you can expect your baby to be signing back to you at around 10 to 12 months old. All children are different and it may be sooner or take a little longer. You will be surprised, it is easy to do and babies love to talk with their hands. Think of when your toddler wants to be picked up, what does he do? What happens when you wave goodbye to him? He waves back!

In our experience, as soon as baby starts signing to one person even sceptical partners, grandparents and siblings join in. Where a signing toddler is joined by a baby brother or sister they sign to each other!

Research shows that signing improves motor skills, cognitive skills, concentration and confidence.

Learn more about the TinyTalk Baby Signing - visit
Learn more about the Makaton MVDP Project - visit

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We want to work with parents and carers to pass on this skill and improve not only communication with the babies involved but also to increase awareness of sign language and normalise this amazing communication system with children of all abilities.

Using signs will not slow down your baby's speech development. In fact research shows baby may well talk sooner and hand eye co-ordination can also develop more quickly.

Your baby will stop using signs as he begins to speak, but by then you will already have been communicating for many months. Using signs as well as speech can make the 'terrible twos' just that bit easier. If you catch the sign language 'bug' you can go on and do a whole series of further workshops in Makaton and learn about working with adults and children perhaps in schools and in the community.

Want to know more : Call Sheila King on 01452 527888

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