Baby sign language: A guide for the science-minded parent

smiling mother and infant; baby is gesturing with hands

What is baby sign language? Should we teach babies to sign? There’s no clear evidence that formal training programs yield long-term benefits. But signing may help parents “tune in” to their babies, and certain gestures may make it easier for babies to learn.

How to support language development in babies

woman talking face to face with smilling baby while father holds him

Babies possess amazing learning abilities. But to master language, they need our help. Studies suggest we can support language development by engaging babies in conversation, and by providing them with a variety of special cues and communicative experiences.

When do babies say their first word?

baby and toddler siblings

Babies make lots of communicative noises, but coos, gurgles, and cries aren’t true speech. When do babies say their first words? Most babies can say at least one or two words by the end of their first year, but the timing may vary considerably from individual to individual.

Can babies sense stress in others? Yes they can!

baby looking out window, appearance of being downcast

Stressed-out parents often wonder: Can babies sense tension and anger? Can babies sense stress in their caregivers? Experimental research confirms that stress is contagious.