Kristen Bell: Why We Taught Lincoln Sign Language

10/19/2014 at 01:00 PM ET

Kristen Bell This Party Saves Lives
Courtesy Nicole Sands

Kristen Bell‘s 18-month-old daughter Lincoln is already a great communicator.

“[She can say] a lot of two-syllable words, but she signs mostly because she’s really good at it,” the actress told PEOPLE at This Party Saves Lives event hosted by her company, This Bar Saves Lives, on Thursday night.

She adds, “People recommend doing signs because the baby can communicate with you and say, ‘I want an apple’ or ‘Look at the black dog,’ and you can actually form sentences.”

While Lincoln works on her signing skills, Bell, 34, and husband Dax Shepard, 39, are preparing for the upcoming arrival of their second child. The actress says her pregnancy has fortunately been a breeze — just like her first.

“Thank my lucky stars, it’s been a virtually identical pregnancy,” she shares. “Pregnancy can be really hard for women, and I’m lucky that I’m not really symptomatic. I’m okay with being on my feet and I’m lucky that my body feels really good.”

Her secret to a feel-good pregnancy? Yoga.

“I’ve found pre-natal yoga to be really unbelievably therapeutic,” she explains. “The days that I do it — even I find in my mental attitude — I’m so much happier. All pregnancy really does is contract your body in these weird ways, so that’s one thing I’ve tried to commit to.”

And while she typically maintains a healthy lifestyle, the mom-to-be has been known to occasionally indulge in what she loves most: snacks.

“I suppose I give in to more cravings because I eat pretty healthy normally, but I’ll give into a lot more snack food and potato chips here and there because why not,” Bell says.

Fortunately, the family has found a fall favorite that has plenty of flavor without the added sugar.

“The whole family is really into organic honey crisp apples in the fall — I know that sounds weirdly specific,” Bell shares. “We try to stay away from sugar and when you haven’t had a ton of sugar in a while, having an organic honey crisp apple feels like you’re having a Snickers bar.”

— Nicole Sands

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Showing 42 comments

Tracy on

God bless, and what a blessing to feel like that during your pregnancy. Congrats.

Mary on

I would like to see a pic of her daughter. Bet she is a cutie.

Me on

Rolling. My. Eyes.

Anonymous on

As a woman who most definitely has not had an easy pregnancy, I am completely within my rights to hate her. But she’s so adorable.

Anonymous on

What a flake.

Marky on

I think sign language is great, as long as you are talking at the same time. It helps the child communicate a little earlier, but if you are speaking at the same time, their verbal skills pick up more quickly, as well. This is a totally adorable couple, and while I don’t share most people’s demonization of sugar, (as long as you don’t go overboard), she’s so right about Honey Crisp apples! Yum! Dax and Kristen just make me smile, and how nice to have someone say they are having a great pregnancy, and not treat it like a disease. And before you freak out on me, I am a long-time L&D nurse, and know some pregnancies are worse than a disease…it’s just that most aren’t when you take good care of yourself….

Karen on

People who say no need for sign language haven’t got a clue! My son was a bit speech delayed due to chronic ear infections when he was an infant. Simple signs like “milk” and ” more” and ” all done” saved us from a lot of frustrational meltdowns! Of course we talked as well…but he could get his point across when he needed it. We rarely had tantrums.

Charlotte on

Teaching kids signs early is a great way to get your child communicating. Research shows that it helps enhance communication and speech. Im a speech pathologist and we always recommend this!

Onelove on

I love her and loved her hubby in The Judge!

MLB on

What a blow hard

Heather on

Yes!! Totally agree on the honey crisp apples – they are the best! And for those who may not know much abou baby signing, it is a complement to learning vocabulary- it doesn’t hinder it. Signs are a great help in alleviating frustration for a little one when trying to communicate!

Sarah on

Your 18 month old should not be communicating primarily through sign language. Infant sign language is meant to create context and association between sounds and having your words met.

It’s unfortunate that convenience for you comes at the potential delay of your child. Her pediatrician would encourage that rather than allow her daughter to get away with signing, they should be reminding her to say it aloud, even if it is not perfect.

Heidi Quayle on

I totally understand the love of honey crisp apples. They really stack up to their reputation. AMAZING.

Arnie on

I have a real issue with Kirsten Bell speaking to the media about her child while simultaneously vilifying the public for being curious about her daughter’s appearance and labelling the paparazzi as perverts for attempting to get photos. I support Bell’s right to protect her child’s privacy, but think it’s hypocritical to then make comments like this in order to further her own professional agenda.

MnNice on

I just started yoga and have done 3 classes and I am hooked and think this is the key to staying flexible, strong and mindful as we get older. Just 3 classes and my balance and strength is much better. I wish I would have known there was such a thing as prenatal yoga.

Judy on

Her and her husband seem like a very nice couple. I love their commercial together.

Sal on

18 month old is too young for sign language.

Ceeteefeebs on

There are so many pernicious and horrible women on this board. I am sorry for the people who are unable to appreciate the differences between sharing what you wish to share about your personal life and having your privacy violated by people who feel entitled to profit off it and consume it. There is a massive difference between sharing anecdotes with the world and sharing your child’s face. The latter encourages bullying, stalking, and harassment. The former merely relates banal anecdotes. Jane Q Public shouldn’t be able to pick Kristen Bell’s child out of a line up, and we’re certainly not entitled to gawk at her. So chill the heck out, people!

[End rant. Drop mic]

Anonymous on

Sal- Are you kidding?! Many babies learn sign language before they’re even a year old. So 18 months is most certainly NOT to young to learn sign language!

Other anonymous- Or maybe they’re just proud parents who like to talk about their child! Shocking concept, isn’t it? 😉

Sue d on

I thought Dax and Kristen wanted extreme privacy for their families. Now we get to hear about everything their kid does. Yawn.

Cricket on

Are we talking about real sign language or just pointing to an apple then pointing to your mouth? Mothers these days make up names for stuff that’s been done since day one. Such as ¨tummy time¨. That used to be known as ¨laying the kid on it’s stomach¨.

heather on

So they don’t normally eat fruit? Sounds awesome.

Charlotte on

LOL . . . LOL – she apparently is not aware that the ‘sign’ language she is talking about is what every baby does (parents just don’t realize that is what they are doing) – it is not the ASL (American Sign Language) that hearing impaired people use.

Just Me on

Some of you people don’t even realize how stupid you sound when you let your bitter jealousy override your common sense. Sign language is taught to babies as young as six months old. It helps them communicate instead of cry. Used with verbal communication and it can help parents and babies alike. Children with speech issues and leaning delays… it can be a godsend. As for their privacy. Talking about your child in an interview, on your terms and on your own time is NOT THE SAME THING as being chased down the sidewalk by photogs trying to get a picture of your newborn. Finding paps hiding in the bushes outside your house, or using telephoto lenses to take pictures of your kid in the park or at a private event in the backyard, NOT THE SAME. Being run off the road by these crazy photogs who want to cash in on pictures of your kid… is NOT THE SAME as talking about your child and sharing little anecdotes in an interview.

seabot on

Charlotte, it’s actual sign language. It’s not point to what you want. Kindly do some research on infants and sign language. It’s a common concept, where babies are taught signs for items, actions, etc. They use it long before they use the spoken words, and 18 months is well within the normal range of using it in conjunction with speaking.

Charlie on

I love how everyone knows how to parent best and what is good for a child and how things are ‘too young’ for a child….

I refused to talk- its not that I didn’t know how to speak, but I refused. I had a big brother who would speak for me and I could point at what I wanted, so evidently, I didn’t feel the need to speak. I think I was around a year and my paedeatrician suggested my mom teach basic sign language so I can learn communication, rather than just pointing.

EnoughAlready on

Charlotte, maybe you should do two seconds of research before you respond. It is, in fact, The same signing that the deaf use. We taught our daughter some sign when she was younger using a Baby Einstein video which prominently features children of the deaf community.

Jays on

Taught my kids sign language when they were babies back in the sixties, they taught their babies. Our family still uses it especially when trying to get a message across a noisy room.

Milah on

I don’t understand all these hateful post about releasing picture of a CHILD. Why is it so important….they should be allowed as much privacy as they choose its none of our business. I like them and luv the fact they have not released one…eat as much junk food u want girl, teach your child sign language if you think its helpful in their development.

Lynda on

I think the key words here are “she signs because she is good at it”. We were told not to teach signs to my granddaughter because she would rely on sign language instead of speaking. I guess we are blessed because by the age of 18 months our little one were taking, knew their colors, shapes and we’re learning their alphabet. I think is because we never baby talked in our home.

Ash on

My mother is deaf and my father is hearing. Coming from a different view of things, I began to learn sign language at 9 months old. Not only did it increase my vocabulary, I excelled in Reading and English. My vocabulary was extensive. My brother who is 15 years younger than me, excelled as well. Maintaining a 4.0 in school, making a 34 on his ACT and able to get a scholarship to college for free. I’m sorry, but I believe it helps children, so kudo’s to them for early child development!!!

Callie on

She’s delusional. Snickers my a$$! An apple tastes like an apple. Gosh, I hate her so much, I hate myself more for reading this article.

Diem on

Isn’t this the same celebrity who publicly complained about the public’s interest in celebrities’ children?? And now she’s drawing attention to her own? Sad that she is being such a hypocrite at the expense of her children.

LAE on

Awesome!!! ASL rocks!

postathread on

UGH..another celeb with nothing better to do or ever worry about than “one upping” the rest of the celebs…who even CARES?? Slow news day People?

Anonymous on

My sister taught my niece to sign certain words and it helped out SOOO much when trying to figure out what she wanted and she picked up on it quickly.

J.C. on

We had every intention of using baby sign when our child was born. We bought the books, videos, etc, and totally believed in the idea. Then we found out our child was deaf.

Now you would think that that would be all the more reason to learn baby sign, however it was exactly the opposite. Through research and healthcare professionals we found out that our child had the greatest opportunity to learn how to listen and speak if we focused intensely on those things before the age of 7 (due to brain plasticity). Let me be clear – I’m not saying baby sign is bad. It works for many people and can be a positive thing. For us, ironically, it was not helpful. Needless to say, I absolutely LOVE Kristen Bell. She is a breath of fresh air in Hollywood and so insanely talented. 🙂

charlotte on

Being followed by paparazzi and having unauthorized photos taken of your children is completely different from choosing to speak about your child in an authorized interview. Their issue is not about privacy per se, but about photos taken of celebrity children without consent. Several commenters need to get their facts straight! Ever heard of Google. You should try it next time before shooting your mouths off about someone!

Anonymous on

J.C.- I’m confused. How is it possible for a deaf child to listen?

Kari- Obviously you’ve never tried a honeycrisp apple. Of course they don’t literally taste like snickers bars, but they DO taste very sweet, just like candy! 🙂

K on

For all you people going on and on about how they don’t want pictures of their child all over the place yet talk about her, get over it! What parent (famous or not) isn’t going to talk about their kids? It’s a pride thing. Like someone else pointed out, having unauthorized pics of your kid all over the place and talking about them are two different things.

Love this couple! And agree on the honey crisp apples — they are the best. Perfect blend of sweet and tart. 🙂

paula on

That’s great, but my son, who has downs, wanted to stop talking and he wanted to sign instead and teachers and kids in preschool don’t know sign so he couldn’t communicate. Now he talks pretty well after we quit signing…

Kathy on

Kristen and Dax look like a lovely couple. So happy for them.