Sign Language Dictionary

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No in Sign Language

Learn how to sign no – it’s helpful in redirecting a child and giving them a little control over their own environment too!

1. Bring one hand up about shoulder height. Connect the pointer and middle finger and extend the thumb out, while tucking the remaining fingers into the palm.
2. Tap the fingertips of the pointer and middle finger to the thumb.
3. You can shake your head no as you do this sign.
4. Tip: you can use body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions to stress how much you mean no. For instance, if your child is doing something silly and you want him to stop, your use of no will be much more lighthearted than if you are stopping a dangerous or rude action.

Teaching Tips:

  • Play a little game of yes and no. Say, “Do you like _________?” and have your child sign yes or no. Start with easy items – like favorite foods to elicit a yes and least favorite foods to elicit a no. You make this as silly as you want to!
  • Signing with babies and toddlers are a good way to support safe choices. If you have to remove a child from an unsafe space or activity (such as the edge of the stairs or an outlet), gently redirect them while signing, “No”. Follow up with an explanation, “That’s not safe”.

No. Close two fingers to your thumb, like they’re saying no. No, no, no!