Baby sign language

Baby sign language can be a great link between the 2 languages (English-Hungarian) we speak. It serves as a third language and helps Baby Sis to understand basic ideas even if we use different languages. The sign is always the same.

If you raise your child bilingual or multilingual, or just wish to understand what your child wants to “say” before using word, sign language is a tool that can help a lot.

With E. I started to use the MAKATON sign language which is based on BSL (British Sign Language). Some ASL (American Sign Language) signs I also included as I sometimes find them easier like the sign for “more”, for instance.

American Sign Language


After quite a lot of research on the net I found MAKATON the most expressive and easy to remember sign collection. What’s more, it is designed for children so one can find nursery rhymes and songs signed online, which makes it easier to learn and after a while (when your child is older) you can also watch a special BBC programme, Something Special.

In the following video you can hear about the benefits of signing to your child, no matter you have a perfectly healthy or mentally challenged child.:

Actually, I created our own sign language using a mixture of BSL, MAKATON, ASL and our own signs, too. You can make up your own sgn if you are creative enough. The key is consistency.

No matter if we are in English or in Hungarian I use the same sign for an idea or object or a family member, to mention a few examples.

Just like E., Baby Sis also enjoys whenever I sign her a song, or I show her a sign while talking to her. E. helps me with signing every now and then (if she’s in the mood).

How to introduce the signs:

  • always face your child so (s)he can see your face and the sign too
  • show the sign while you say the word
  • have cheerful expression on your face
  • introduce maximum 1-2 signs at once
  • use and repeat the same signs for 3-5 days regularly
  • then introduce 2-3 new signs every 5-6 days
  • follow your child’s lead (some children pick up signs more slowly or faster than others)

10+1 basic baby signs to start with:



+baby’s name

Baby’s name can be signed with the first letter of their name. Here is the Makaton ABC:

Here is a youtube video of two girls showing the Makaton abc:

Moving on to a higher level…

Depending on the baby’s interest you can introduce 1-2 topics with 4-5 signs per week or you can choose a mixture of 10-15 favourite signs:

  • foods
  • animals
  • more family members
  • toys
  • everyday objects
  • colours
  • action verbs

Singing and signing:

Singing to your baby and telling her nursery rhymes are the best way to familiarise your child with the sounds, intonation, tune of your language(s). While singing you can sign what you sing about. You don’t need to sign every word just the most important ones. Your child will be fascinated by the sound and the visual impact as well.

Make sure you check out Signing Hands youtube channel where you can find several traditional nursery rhymes and songs signed. (You can learn the signing from the songs quite easily)

Here is an example: – Row, row, row your boat

More resources:

You can have a look at my Makaton Pinterest board which is full of useful signs, links and videos about sign language and great number of signs.

I hope you find this post useful and interesting. Although I’m not an expert on signing, just a mom who learnt it all by herself from the net, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.


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