Before your baby can start forming words that make sense, they will babble and make cute sounds. That’s what we call baby talk and it’s the most adorable thing you can ever witness as a parent. But, does that mean that your baby is ready to say their first words?
Learning to talk is a huge milestone for your baby which will most likely occur in the first three years of their life because that’s when their brain development is at its peak. This is when your baby is learning and experiencing how different voices can sound.
When they’re close to 2 years old, they learn to put these sounds together and form words to express their needs.
Read ahead to understand how this process unfolds and what are some things you can do to encourage your baby to talk:
Birth to three months:
During this time, your baby watches your face and listens to you when you talk. They will try to babble and squeal, in an attempt to make the sounds that you’re making. They tend to be attracted to musical sounds, as this is when they begin to make cooing sounds. During this time, you can:
- Sing to them because they’re most likely to pick up words and gestures if you talk to them in the form of songs. Sing nursery rhymes to them and converse with them in a rhythm.
- Talk when you’re around them. You could talk to your baby or talk to others around your baby. They won’t understand what you’re saying but will observe the sounds you’re making
Three to six months:
Around this time, your little munchkin will start babbling and making random sounds. They may even start responding to their name and use the tone of their voice to express their mood. To encourage them to say words, you could:
- Talk to them slowly while maintaining eye contact
- Make sounds while moving your mouth as they will try to imitate you
- Repeat whatever they’re attempting to say to initiate a two-way dialogue
Nine to twelve months:
At this point, your baby will start to understand simple words and instructions. If you say no, they’ll know what it means. They may even start to recognize sounds and people. If you ask them “where’s mummy?”, they might point towards you. You can encourage them to talk by:
- Accompanying words with gestures. For instance, when you say “bye-bye”, wave your hand and make sure they’re watching you
- Try to label everything around the house, including their toys so that they can associate sounds with objects they see daily
Twelve to eighteen months:
Most babies at this stage have learned to say “Mama” and “Papa” while knowing what it means. They may even start responding to you when given short instructions. For instance, if you ask them to pick up the ball, they will understand and do it. If you ask them “do you want water?”, they will respond.
At this stage, it’s best if you:
- Ask them questions about what they’re doing
- Ask them to name objects, if they get it right reward them with kisses and hugs. Clap your hands to make sure they know they got it right
- Read books with them that have a lot of pictures. For instance, a book that contains names of animals, or fruits, or other objects.
Two years to Three years:
By now, your child’s language skills will have developed drastically. They will have a greater vocabulary and will be able to string words together to form simple sentences.
They will be able to answer simple questions, name objects, and make gestures along with their words. You can further encourage their language development by:
- Indulging in a lot of pretend play with their toys, creating stories and imaginary dialogues with their dolls. You can explore a wide range of learning toys from Hamleys by simply visiting Mothercare Online.
- Watch cartoons with them
- Ask them open-ended questions to which they can respond with a simple yes or no. This will encourage them to form their ideas and opinions
- Teach them about shape, size and numbers
The best way of all is to transform everyday activities with your baby into learning experiences. Babies learn best through repetition and consistency. Follow these tips thoroughly and be an active part of this process, and very soon, you and your little one will be chatting away.