© 2024 Hoop Health Ltd. All rights reserved.
Background image
Background whirlwind scribble
Background jagged scribble

What Age should you start Baby Signing?

11 February 2023

The best time to begin baby signing is as soon as your child shows an interest in communication, which tends to be around five months onwards. Eye contact, the direction of a gaze, expressions, simple gestures such as raising arms, or - as you are probably familiar, crying, are all signals that your baby is trying to communicate with you. 

Five months is roughly when your baby will enter the developmental stage at which their brains are ready to understand signing. It’s generally from this age that they become more interested in the world around them and are thus more open to pursuing communication. To begin with, communication will be rather one sided, with you predominantly signing for your baby. At around 11 months, though, you can expect your baby to start signing back.

It’s important to stress that there isn’t a hard and fast rule on what age to start signing. The moment at which baby signing begins to work will vary from child to child as they reach their developmental milestones. Some parents even choose to begin the process from birth, whereas others will wait until well after their baby’s first birthday. Look out for those communication cues, as they will give the best indication of whether your child is ready. That being said, there are no proven negative effects to baby signing, so if you really want to get started early, then go for it.

The process

As with any skill, it will take time for your baby to master signing. You’ll need to start with just a few simple words that you repeat as clear gestures. At first, you might not think your baby can understand but bear with it. What children can understand always comes before what they can express for themselves. It’s likely that your child will understand a lot more than you realise. Your baby will soon move onto reciprocating, though it may take a while for you to recognise and understand their signs.


Children make their way through stages of development at different paces. Sometimes it can take them a while to begin or master speech. Often, this isn’t anything to worry about, but baby signing can help put parents’ and carers’ minds at ease, and instil some confidence in your little one to guide them towards talking. Children can pick up baby signing at any age. Just because your child might be 18 months old doesn’t mean they’ve passed the chance to start signing. There is no perfect age at which signing needs to be taught. If you think it might work for your child, go ahead and try it! 

Baby sign classes

There are many baby sign classes that run across the country. Most of these don’t stipulate age ranges, but advise you to come when your baby is showing signs of communication. Most classes have no upper age limit, and will support older children by adapting their approach and the words they teach.

Find fun, healthy activities for kids on the Hoop app