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Use your Cloth Diaper Changing Time to Teach Sign Language to Baby


Father and baby

It has become a growing trend: teaching your baby to “speak” using sign language before they are able to verbally communicate their wants and needs. But, as with teaching your baby anything, the only way to succeed is to be persistent and find the time. Luckily, you have one-on-one time to practice signing with your baby every day and you probably don’t even realize it — when you are changing their cloth diapers!

Some basics about signing with your baby

The ideal time for baby to learn to sign

If you are thinking about teaching your little one to use sign language, the perfect time is between four to eight months, but keep in mind that until about six months, your baby may lack the motor skills to sign back. But still, start early! Even though they can’t sign back, they will begin to understand and will start to sign back as they develop.

Signing does not delay speech

A common myth, some parents fear that using sign language will delay their baby’s speech. This is absolutely untrue. There are really no cons to using baby sign language in your home. As you teach your baby language (signing and verbal) you are reinforcing language development. Once your baby learns to say the word, they will stop signing — it isn’t necessary anymore.

Signing is not magic

Communication is an integral part of your child’s emotional development, so whether your baby signs or not, parents and caregivers are responsible to teach them to communicate. That means be responsive to both verbal and non-verbal cues.

Signing during your cloth diaper change times

When you are changing your baby, use this time to practice signing anything and everything. Of course, you will want to reinforce the signs for “diaper” and “change” — how great will it be when your baby can tell you it’s time for a new cloth diaper? — but there are lots of other signs that your child will be much more interested in. For example:

Animals and objects

Keep some of your baby’s favorite books close to your change table and let your baby hold them while you change their diaper. Point out and say the names of objects that catch baby’s attention and once you have finished cleaning your baby’s bum, sign and say those same words.


Everyone loves a baby with good manners. While you have your baby all to yourself with no distractions on the change table, say things out loud: “Put your legs up, please,” “Thank you for being such a good baby!” or “I think we need more wipes.” Even if your baby can’t follow the instructions, saying the words alongside using the signs will help them understand what each sign means.

All done!

When your baby doesn’t want to eat anymore, play anymore or really, they are just done with whatever is happening, teach them to tell you. This will help avoid frustration for your baby and for you — just think, fewer temper tantrums! So, every time you finish changing your baby let them know you are “All done!” Soon, they will associate the words with the sign and be able to tell you the same thing throughout their day.

You may try to speed through a diaper change, but slow down and take your time! This is the perfect time for baby bonding!




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