The Best Signs to Start With :: 9 Great Starter Signs

by | Getting Started, Playful Signs, Useful Signs

Which Signs Should You Start With?

Deciding which signs to start with is one of the first big questions parents face when beginning with baby sign language.

To make things super simple, I’ve put together this collection of 9 videos of my absolute favorite starter signs and created a totally FREE printable chart to go with it. Download the free chart below and print it out as a visual reminder of which signs you’re using and how to do them!

Starter Signs FB

All Done

How to sign ALL DONE in American Sign Language. Oh the possibilities for this one are endless! Use this one whenever you are transitioning from one activity to another and your baby will get the idea. You can sign “all done” when you’re taking your baby out of the carrier, high chair, bath, car seat, you name it.

You can sign & say this at the end of a feeding or when you finish a book. You can use this sign along with the words “all done,” “finished,” and even “the end.” Once your baby starts signing this one back to you, it’s really helpful that they can let you know when they’ve had enough BEFORE the tears come.


How to sign BALL in American Sign Language. Curve all your fingers (this is called a “claw” handshape in ASL) and bring your hands together to show the shape of a ball. Pro tip: You can do this sign with a ball in your hands if it’s small enough. This is a great technique to show your baby the sign, because their eyes will be on the ball…AND your hands!


How to sign BATH in American Sign Language. Sign bath to your baby as you’re getting ready for bath time and during the bath. You can also use this sign when you see someone taking a bath in a book you’re reading. You can sign this one on your body or right on your baby’s body (if they don’t mind).


How to sign BED in American Sign Language. This one is super easy and babies can learn it really quickly. Ask your baby “do you want to go to bed?” when you suspect they’re getting sleepy.


How to sign DOG in American Sign Language. This is definitely not my best video because you can’t see my hand – sorry! But this is a super easy sign – just pat your thigh with your hand like you are calling a dog to come to you. Easy peasy.

There are 3 ways to sign dog in ASL. 1) Pat your thigh 2) Snap your fingers or 3) Do a combo of the pat & snap. I prefer keeping it simple by patting your leg. You can even pat your baby’s thigh to teach them this sign, just to give them the idea.


How to sign EAT in American Sign Language. The sign for “eat” is the same as the sign for “food” in ASL. I recommend introducing this sign when your baby starts eating solid foods. Use it every time your baby has something to eat and remember your baby’s sign might not look much like yours! They’ll do their best by either touching their mouth (or maybe even their ear, like my first did!). You don’t need to correct them, just keep doing it the right way and they’ll copy you to the best of their ability.


 Download the Free Baby Sign Language Chart!


Starter Signs Pinterest

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Baby Sign Langage Quick Start Guide

Baby sign language doesn't have to be confusing! Download our free Quick Start Guide and get started with baby sign language in three, simple steps. Click the button below, enter your email address, and we'll send it right over. 


Hi, I’m Lane. I’m so glad you’re here!

As a new mom, I wanted to use sign language with my baby, but I wasn’t sure where to start.

After a trip to my local library and lots of trial and error, I figured it out—and I was honestly blown away by how much closer I felt to my daughter!

I decided every parent should be able to experience that deeper connection with their little one. So, I added American Sign Language training to my child development background, and I created my award-winning Tiny Signs program.

I’ve helped tens of thousands of families communicate through basic sign language, and I’d love to help you, too.

Lane Rebelo, LCSW, author of Baby Sign Language Made Easy and The Complete Guide to Baby Sign Language