Communicating with a Thirteen Month Old

I’ve been receiving comments from people about something that I don’t usually give a second thought to until, well, I’m questioned. On another site, I was discussing how LittleBrother now signs to us when he wants to eat a snack or when he wants to go to sleep. Someone who didn’t know me or about my boys asked the logical question: is LittleBrother deaf? No, he’s not. But we learned, a little later with BigBrother, that teaching young toddlers signs really helps with the frustration level.

We didn’t start until BigBrother was about a year old and we didn’t ever include a whole lot of sign. He learned milk, bath, more and a few others and that was enough for us to notice the benefits. When LittleBrother was about six months old, I decided we would take it one step further and include Signing Time DVDs in our teaching. This has been the second best parenting decision I have made thus far. (Right behind babywearing because I’d still get nothing done or be able to go anywhere without babywearing sometimes!)

I bought Signing Time! Volume 1 and started playing it once a day (or so) when LittleBrother was about seven months old. To say that he caught on quickly is an understatement. I soon ordered Signing Time! Volume 2 and he learned even more. As of now, with Volume 3 having just joined our collection on Christmas Day, he comprehends nearly 30 signs. He can actively sign 12-15.

I know some people wonder why teaching American Sign Language (ASL) to a hearing child serves any purpose. I’ll simply quote Signing Time’s FAQ’s and then expand on it with our personal story.

Most children are not developmentally ready to speak until approximately 2 years of age. Babies are developmentally able to communicate with signs much earlier than that. Some studies indicate children as young as 5 to 6 months of age can communicate with limited signs. The inability to communicate can cause frustration and tantrums for both the parent and the child! Sign language is a wonderful tool that allows even very small children to express themselves. Most parents that sign with their babies talk about an unexplainable bond that is felt when their child communicates so early!

The Fire Family has found this to be true. LittleBrother absolutely grins from ear to ear when he tells us something and we understand. Sometimes he even claps when we simply “get” what he is trying to communicate. It’s adorable. It’s also helpful. I normally serve morning snack around ten in the morning. On days when someone forces us to start our day early, it is nice that LittleBrother can tell me that he wants to eat. What’s more helpful is the sleep sign. While we have a rather predictable schedule, it’s nice to know when LittleBrother has simply had enough of being awake and is ready to start winding down. It is also a clue, if it is over an hour before bed, that he needs some extra cuddles and time or meltdowns will occur.

It is, of course, rather hard to capture signs on video as I’m usually in the middle of actively communicating with him when he signs. If you ask him to sign something that he doesn’t want at the time, he looks at you like you have two heads. You know, like when you try to get your three year old to sing the ABC’s for their grandmother and they look at you like, “Why would I want to do that now?” And then you look like you’re lying to impress your relatives. Yes. It’s kind of like that. But, trust us, LittleBrother is a great signer. Anyone who has spent any time with him in the past month or two has witnessed it, communicated with him and, in essence, learned from a thirteen month old.

As an added bonus, since adding the DVDs to our library, BigBrother has also relearned his previous signs and added new ones as well. Not only is he improving his own vocabulary but he acts as a translator when others don’t know what LittleBrother is trying to sign. It’s really quite adorable.


See for yourself.

We love Rachel Coleman and her Signing Time products. Yes, we could just as easily teach the signs ourselves, I suppose. But if you get Signing Time, Volume 3 and watch the Silly Pizza Song, my guess is that you won’t be able to master that in one passing. (Heck, I can only, seven months later, say that I’ve just barely mastered the whole Signing Time credit song.) To boot, Rachel has a blog and, most recently, a twitter account.

As I’m still in the spirit of giving, I’d like to give one lucky reader a choice of Signing Time Volume 1, 2 or 3. (I’m only offering up one of those three as I can personally vouch that they’re awesome.) You choose and I’ll have it shipped directly from Amazon to the address of your choosing. (So, grandmas can have it sent directly to grandchildren and what not!)

How to enter?

1. Leave a comment about who would be benefiting from winning (your child, grandchild, someone somewhere) and why you think that child/person could benefit from this DVD. Also state whether you would choose Volume 1, 2 or 3. (You can change your mind if you win and pick a different volume. I’m easy.) One comment only for this step.

2. Post a tweet on your twitter account! Use this URL ( ). Also, please use the hashtag: #SDBSigns when making a tweet. (While not necessary, feel free to follow me. I’m FireMom!) You may tweet once per day and come back and post an individual comment (don’t post your tweets in the option/comment #1) for each separate tweet (one per day).

That’s all this time. Again I will have a spreadsheet with all of the entries and pick via I will leave the giveaway open through January 5th at noon. At that time, I will close comments, eat my lunch and contact the winner via email. The winner will have 12 hours to respond or I’ll move on to the next random winner. Once we have a confirmed winner, I will announce it on the blog. Winner’s choice of Volume 1, 2 or 3 will be shipped direct from Amazon with two day (Prime!) shipping. Tracking number will be passed along so the winner can track it.

Even if you don’t win, I recommend either buying one of the Signing Time products or checking to see if your library system carries any of them. (Ours does! That’s how I first decided to make the purchase. It’s always good to check something out first. I know!)


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95 Replies to “Communicating with a Thirteen Month Old”

  1. Oh, we love Signing Time! We used to watch it on TV, the local PBS had it on every Friday. But now we’re cable free so the boys miss out. My oldest picked up very quickly when he was still very little, something that I’ve been told attributed to his huge boom in speech. Having the signing background already communicating with words was a small step for him to take.

    I would love to win Volume 1 for my boys, and for the upcoming baby when he/she is older.

  2. This is fantastic, “The King” being 19 months old is trying so hard to get across what he needs/wants, and communication is not always the best. He picks things up very quickly so I know he would be so much happier about us “knowing” what he is trying to tell us.

  3. I credit a baby crush on Rachel Coleman as the reason my 2 year old is abnormally willing to share. I would love to win this since we don’t own any of them. We just checked them out of the library and our new library doesn’t stock them.

    I twittered too! Twice cause I didn’t read all the directions the first time.

  4. Hi would love to win a DVD of Baby Signing Time. I’ve been teaching my 19 mos. old son sign language since he was 6 mos. old and he’s signs about 10 different words. It has really helped to in our communication. I think it’s such a great tool. I would love to expand his knowledge of signing. I also have baby #2 on the way and would love to have it for the new babe. It’s such a wonderful too. Thanks for the opportunity. :)

  5. Hi! Ooh, my daughter turned one last week and would love this! I have a book of signs but am not so awesome at using them… a DVD would be helpful. I think #1! Thanks!

  6. We also signed with our children – having a friend who is an ASL interpreter helped… Not only did it make communication easier when the kids were little, but we are still able to use it as the children grow older. We can sign across the room or through the window and everyone knows what is being said… sure cuts down on yelling out the door – I much prefer the quiet way!

  7. I added all of them to my Amazon Wish List. Even if I’m still early in my pregnancy, this is definitely something that I want to remember for the baby because it is so amazing to me! I’m not going to enter your contest though because I just won something from you and I don’t want to hog all the gifts :-P

  8. My favorite signs that we taught our son are “frustrated” and “patience”. We still actively use these signs when he needs to communicate but is on the verge of completely melting down…he has a physical distraction (to sign, rather than throw) in the heat of the two year old moment.

    We are blessed to have a dear friend who is an interpreter for the deaf, so she showed me these specific signs. Boy, am I glad she did!

  9. I taught my 2nd son signing and am going to teach my 3rd one too! We would love the 3rd Volume, everyday signs. Signing really does help since #2 isn’t talking yet (he is 18 months) and definitely wants to communicate. I can’t imagine how frustrated he’d be if couldn’t communicate at all.

  10. M could really benefit from Signing Time 1. E learned a few very basic signs late like Big Brother. Thanks for the chance.

  11. I was planning to buy the Signing Time DVD’s for the new baby. I missed out with the other two – didn’t learn about them till about a year ago! But I’d love to try it out this time around. So I’d love to win #1 to start us off! :c)

  12. All righty, sign me up, though I don’t have twitter so this is it for my entries. Who would be benefitting? The entire Song household. We signed with the oldest. She learned a ton of signs, particularly animal signs, as a baby. It was utterly fantastic to be able to communicate with her early. She was a late talker (not even mama until 18 months of age), but we honestly didn’t notice as she was able to talk to us via signing so well. She could even “read” books. I’m hoping to do the same with my youngest and if the videos are helpful, I’m up for it.

  13. Oh yeah. We’d start with 1. Er, I know this is 2 comments, and I am aware it only counts as one entry. I just, er…can’t read directions very well, apparently, and forgot to include which volume I’d like…

  14. I think my 19 month old could use this. I’m afraid he is a bit of a late talker. I think we should start with vol 1.

  15. Me, Me Me!!!! We have had major issues with Cameron. At 2 1/2 he still says VERY few words. However, we began using sign language. He knows and uses at least 50 signs. Spencer is nine months and we are starting to try and teach him. I have heard to start when they are able to wave. He is not yet waving, but we are starting anyway!

  16. I would love to try this with my second son. Like the fire family, we did a few signs for #1 and it was useful and good. At 2 he hasn’t quite dropped all of them. I would like to be able to communicate faster and better with #2 as it did seem to make everyone a bit happier. I will have to check for Volume 1 at the library.

  17. I’ve never seen the signing time Dvd’s although we have taught our youngest to sign: milk, thankyou, please, again, bath, help, bye-bye. We would love to learn more signs!

  18. We love signing time over here! I’m so bummed it’s not on PBS this season, so having one of our own would be great! I used sings with my son and have a baby girl due this spring that I would love to start even earlier. :-) And it’d be great to send along to grandma and grandpas as they can’t quite remember the signs themselves.

  19. My older daughter learned almost 100 signs. I blogged about it over a hear ago here. Now that she is almost 3 she does not use them but she is very verbal and I attribute that in part to her signing.

    I have a 5 month old and we plan to start signing with her next month when we start solids. It seems a lot of practical signs went with mealtimes. We have the videos recorded from PBS but would love to win a dvd as they are so much more convenient. I would like volume 1.

  20. I teach kindergarten. Iuse ASL in my classroom and would love to have a DVD. Of course I need Vol. 3 so I can have the Silly Pizza Song. My kids read the little book I made and sing it everyday!!

  21. Not entering, but chiming in to say that signing was a HUGE benefit with my middle child, who was speech delayed. If only we’d started earlier with her, we might not have had to endure so much wailing.

  22. I would love to win Volume 1 for my sister who is expecting in February. I have two little boys, ages 2 and 10 months and they both LOVE signing time! We already have the first four volumes of both the regular and baby signing time so unless you add an option for volume 5, I would win this for her. :) I love that it not only teaches sign language but it really helps them learn new words too. My 2 year old signs all the time and he is so funny. If he doesn’t know the sign for something, he’ll just make one up or use something else that is similar. Last week he signed candy for grapes. Hey, I think that is great he thinks grapes are like candy!

  23. Volume 1 would be great for my grandson and granddaughter. My grandson is 4 and he has been diagnosed with autism. He has a major speech delay and I think this would really help. Thanks!

  24. I’d love to win any of them, but if I had to pick one I’d probably go with Vol. 2. We have a few of the signs down from Vol. 1, but learning more (with the additional help from a DVD for reinforcement) would be great.

    Mira still isn’t talking, so I’ve been trying to teach her some signs to help us communicate until her speech develops. It’s frustrating, because she’s 19 months old and has a lot of her own thoughts and wants, but can’t express them.

  25. I can also vouch that baby signing helps! We only have the Baby Einstein version though that we’ve been watching since Savannah was about 6 months old, which she still loves watching, but I would love to expand her vocabulary and introduce new words/signs that would help us daily. Therefore, I would love to own the Volume 3 DVD.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  26. I am pregnant with my second child. I wanted to do signing with my first son, but didn’t have a good medium to teach it. This would be excellent!

  27. I’d love Vol 1 for my grand daughter. She is 10 months old and we have just started using simple signs, like cup, eat, more and all done.

  28. We’d love this!! I’m due end of January, and definitely plan to teach our son the basic signs to help us communicate. They want to talk and communicate as much as we do, and it must be frustrating for them when we dont understand. I’m so excited about this!! I would probably choose Vol 1 to start with. Thanks for the chance.

  29. I would love Vol 1 to give as a gift – we already do Signing Time and have all these 3 volumes .. but I could def give this as a gift someday.

  30. I love Baby Signing Times! We have volume 1 and would love to have volume 2! My 16 month old could really benefit from signing more, since he hasn’t really started talking yet.

  31. I’d love to win this for my son & I have a couple of nieces/nephews on the way whom we could share the “wealth” with too! :) I briefly tried teaching a sign or two to my son, but was unsuccessful, maybe I would have better luck this way! Volume 1

  32. Our daughter is almost three and is talking non-stop, but she started at 8 months with signing, so I’m a big advocate of teaching kids signs. I’d love to gift this to a friend who’s currently frustrated w/not being able to communicate w/her 1 y/o. Thanks for the chance to enter!

  33. I loved this post. Regardless of how much or how little parents teach their children sign language it is definitely beneficial. My second child (and my only son) was a late talker and I could read him like a book. My anticipating all of his needs delayed his communicating even more and since he knew that I knew what he wanted he decided to start screaming if he didn’t get it. I had to force everyone in the house not to respond to his screaming to force him to talk. That didn’t work too well! Well, I had studied ASL years ago and taught him how to say more, water and eat. What a big difference it made! He was so pleased that communicating gave him what he wanted that he started talking a little and then we got him a speech therapist. Now he’s a 5 year old who can hold a conversation with the best of them!

    A funny thing happened not too long ago. I can’t remember what I said to him, but he signed more (and spoke it) in the middle of his sentence. He didn’t even realize it. So somewhere in there he remembered his sign language. I wish I had kept up teaching him because he was very receptive. My oldest daughter who learned signing at about 10 has forgotten a lot and my two youngest daughters just looked at me like I’d lost my mind! :)

    Sorry for the long comment. You sparked a lot of thought. Great work with your children and I absolutely loved the video. He’s adorable.

  34. this would be great with our #2 as we used it with dd #1 and she still uses some signs with the words…i think volume 1 would be great to get.

  35. I would get this for my niece. She’s 7 months old and my sister has told me that she is interested in teaching her how to sign so this would be perfect for her. Its important to be able to interact and communicate with your child and I think these dvds help parents do just that.

  36. That is so cool! We have started signing with my son (almost 7 mo) since he was very young. He knows mama, dada, milk and bye. I did those from memory, and I have a book of signs from my dad for Christmas, but I would LOVE to be able to get either volume 2 or 3 (the pizza song sounds like fun). My son would benefit because he would be exposed to more different signs. I haven’t signed a song in a very long time!

  37. This would be for my Niece Olivia! She loves Signing Time! I am hard of hearing and have taughter a few signs, but she really needs the every day interaction to really learn!
    Thank you so much for this giveaway!
    Artful Blessings,

    P.S. I will be blogging about this Giveaway on my blog today!

  38. This would be for my young niece Olivia, she LOVES signing time! I have used ASL with her as I am hard of hearing. She really needs to see the videos daily in order to full reach her signing potential! Thank you so much for this giveaway.

    I need to figure out how to Tweet about it, but I will also be blogging about this Giveaway.

    Artful Blessings,

  39. I would LOVE to win either #2 or #3. I think we have most of the signs from #1 down. We have a 2 year old who was placed with us for adoption, through the foster care system.

    He has global developmental delays, including speech delays, and the signing has come in SOOOOO handy since we got him last May at 18 months! He only knew “more” when he came to us, and now he knows probably about 18 signs. It just eliminates SO much frustration. He is able to communicate with us without (much) whining, and even though the signs aren’t always exactly right, we know what he’s talking about.

    We have had the Signing Time DVD’s (and I think there are about 12 total!)on our Amazon wish list ever since we knew we were going to get this sweet little boy. Thank you for the giveaway!

    Mama Bear (aka Angie)

  40. I’d love to win this for my son! Even though he’s only 9 1/2 months old he gets so frustrated that he can’t communicate with us on what he wants. I see him get so upset and it breaks my heart cause I know if he could talk he’d being talking up a storm! I’d love to have Volume 1!!

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  41. My girls love Signing Time. We used to watch this on PBS, but now it is not on our local PBS station anymore. I didn’t know about signing for babies with my oldest, but when my second daughter came along we actual took a baby sign class. It made such a difference. We found Signing Time when my youngest was only a few months old. My youngest is 19 months now and she still signs a lot. Signing is great for my 3 & 5 year old too because they can still communicate in situations when they need to be quiet.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  42. What an awesome giveaway!! We have a 4-year-old daughter with special needs and I honestly don’t know WHERE we’d be without signing!!! I’d love to win Volume 3 to donate to my daughter’s special ed preschool class!!! Thanks for the great giveaway and the chance to win!!

  43. I’m a speech-language pathologist and I encourage EVERYONE to teach their kiddos to sign. My now almost two year old still signs to us when we can’t understand what she’s saying….it’s a lifesaver! I’d love Volume 1 for my newly expected little one. :)

  44. I would love to have volume 1 for my 15-month-old daughter so she could learn how to communicate with us more and I wouldn’t feel so lost about what she needs sometimes.

  45. Our 10-month old is just starting to use the signs we’ve been doing around her for the last few months. She’s a champ at “milk”! We recorded several episodes from PBS before they stopped carrying Signing Time, and it would be great to have volume 3 to add to our collection.

  46. I’d love Volume One. This would be for our son we just adopted from Russia. He is 20 months and we are trying to teach him signs to help bridge the communication gap due to his age and to him knowing Russian and still learning to understand English.

    heatherlbrandt (at) verizon (dot) net

  47. I’d use this with my niece and with the children that I nanny for. A few years ago I worked in a daycare center and we used a few signs and it was so much easier for the 1-2yr olds to communicate! I think any child would benefit from this and I’d love to be entered. I’d go with volume 1

  48. If I win my two children would benefit from this greatly. I’ve tried teaching them what I know but would love the help.

    And I would definitely choose volume 3.

  49. My daughter and daughter to be (due this month)! We have done some signing with my daughter and it has been invaluable. I love the idea of these DVDs and want to carry on with signing as our new little one enters our family. I would choose Volume 1!

    Fuji Mamas last blog post..Happy Moo Year!

  50. I would love to have vol#3 for my kids. We used to watch it on PBS but it’s not on here anymore and they really miss it!

  51. my good friends 4yr old son has cerebral palsy and can not form words. Is is in an early intervention program that is teaching him some basic signs. would love to gift him with volume 1 to be able to add to his vocabulary!

    thanks so very much!

  52. I would absolutely love to win this for my 15 month old daughter. Already she signs more, eat, drink, water, please, bath, and sleep, and elephant…. just to name a few. We started signing back when she was about 4 months old, but fell out of the habit by 10 months. When she reached one year, we began signing all over again in conjunction with her day care provider and it’s amazing how much she’s picked up in 3 months. She (and us too!!) would absolutely love to learn more signs…i’ve been looking for a book or something to help me teach her (in local stores) but have had no luck. I agree, signing makes your life so much easier because your child is encouraged to try to speak because you ‘get’ what they’re saying–they are not easily frustrated and have a meltdown. Volume two might be a good place to start.

  53. So many of our friends have inspired us to start signing with our ds, and we are so ecstatic to do so! Signing Time! Volume 1 sounds like a brilliant place to start! : )))

    Thanks so much for this fabulous give~away! : )))


  54. I work in early intervention. We have an almost 3 year old girl with Down Syndrome. She’s been signing for about 18 months. I recently asked her mom, and she said she has “at least” 225 signs—including emotions! She knew a few signs, but it wasn’t until she started watching the Signing Times DVDs that she really took off. I’d love to introduce my other families to this.

    Jules last blog post..TSMSS: I will be here

  55. we also used to watch this on PBS, but it comes on really early now and my kids miss it. Volume 1 would be great for my 2 yr old and her baby brother:) thanks!

  56. This would SO benefit my eight-month-old daughter. I borrowed the Volume I of signing times from the library and the first time Emma saw it she smiled and laughed and cooed, and I was impressed because it is something I can do and learn with her easily. It goes at a wonderful pace, for us both. lol Thanks so much for the opportunity to win! I think my sister is going to give me Volume 1 so I would LOVE to win Volume 2!

    Thanks again!


    Lindsey@A Kindred Spirit’s Thoughtss last blog post..Be Strong and Curvaceous by Shelley Adina

  57. My son loves these videos!!! So, he would be the big winner here. I would probably choose volume 2 as he loves the move and groove dvd that we got from the library. Thanks!

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