Blog What is Your Baby Trying to Tell You?

What is Your Baby Trying to Tell You?

by Marissa Mirbach

You already know how important it is to talk, play and sing with your baby. Verbal engagement helps grow your baby’s brain, teaches them to respond (sooner), and is the foundation of a strong and trusting relationship.

But to many parents, talking to your pre-verbal baby feels like talking to a houseplant. It’s hard to know what to say, let alone maintain a conversation, when the person you are talking to can’t talk back!

That’s where baby sign language comes in.

Infants start to develop the cognitive ability to process language around 6-7 months, but they don’t have the fine motor skills in their mouths and tongues to begin speaking real words until several months later. Teaching an infant how to sign closes that gap, giving them the ability to communicate earlier, and side stepping several unnecessary months of frustration and unexplained crying.

Our friend Bill over at Happy Baby Signs in the Bay Area, author of Signs of a Happy Baby, has seen the amazing impact that early communication skills can have on a family, and on a child’s life.

Bill says, “A baby might be crying and crying for applesauce, and her parents have to play a painful guessing game, offering her a toy, milk, water… it’s difficult for both the parent and the child. But if she can sign ‘more applesauce’, and her parents give her applesauce, all that negativity melts away. The parent is communicating to the child, ‘I understand you and I hear you.’ Knowing that mom and dad can hear, understand and value what she has to say, builds a foundation for self-esteem for the rest of her life.”

Sounds pretty good to us!

In Bill’s own life, he’s seen the impact of teaching sign language to his sons, who are now teenagers.

“…When our older son started using signs, he could tell us that he wanted strawberries, juice, and cereal for breakfast, please. When he started to get cranky, he could say he wanted to go to the park in his stroller. He could sign that his mouth hurt and, when we looked inside, we could see the jagged edges of a new tooth sprouting. He trusted us to listen, pay attention, and take care of his needs. We knew what he needed. We knew what to do.”

In Bill’s experience, being able to understand what your child is trying to say totally changes the way you interact with them. You start engaging with them more often… because it’s fun!

He also says that baby sign language and the Starling go hand in hand. Research shows that children learn language from their parents, so the more you talk to your baby, the faster they will reach their own first words. The Starling helps remind parents to talk, talk, talk! By seeing their daily word counts increase and setting higher goals, parents can finally know that they’re on track to boost their baby’s brain.

“I’ve never been so fired up about any product since learning about baby sign language! Parents who are interested in sign language for their little ones have to give the Starling a try,” Bill told us.

So why not give it a try? Check out Bill’s online classes at, and pair it up with a Starling!

About the Author

Marissa Mirbach

Marissa is part of the Starling Research Team, a Claremont McKenna College graduate and a proud California native. Her job is to provide VersaMe followers with useful, and sometimes surprising, information about early childhood education. You can follow her work on all our social media profiles, and here on the blog! In her free time she loves to cook and ride her bike.

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