baby development

Baby milestones: Talking

Your baby learns to talk by listening to people around them and then building up simple words and sentences. Here’s how to encourage your little one's speech through games, reading and chatting

Baby talking milestones: What to expect 6 months – 1 year

Fun ways to help encourage your little one to start talking and understanding talking milestones

baby talking milestones 474

By the time your little one reaches about 6 months, they will be communicating by watching your face and making noises. They may be trying to copy what you do, so if you stick your tongue out they may try and copy. Copying is how they learn.

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What to expect around 6 months

By around 6 months they will make sounds like cooing, gurgling and babbling, to themselves and with others.

They may also be making noises to get your attention and will watch your face when you talk to them.

Hearing voices gets them excited and encourages them to kick or wave their arms and make their own noises. They will also smile and laugh when other people smile and make sounds back when someone talks to them.

Ways to encourage your 6 month old to start talking

Talking to your baby is the best way to encourage them to start talking. Tell them what you’re doing, where you’re going and chat about all the things you notice about them – they will be listening and taking it all in.

Singing songs and rhymes, especially those with actions or lots of repetition is a great way to help them learn those early words. Look at and talk about picture books together – it’s never too early to share books.

Things to look out for:

• Can they look at you and look like they want to join in?

• Do they watch your face while you’re talking?

• Can they join in, smile and laugh with you?

What to expect around 1 year

By 12 months old your baby is likely to be communicating with you in different ways – making noises, pointing and looking to get your attention. They’ll want to have baby conversations with you and will start to understand routines, simple words and activities.

They will be making talking noises and babbling strings of sounds like ‘mama-ma’ and ‘ba-ba-ba’. They will be getting to close to saying their first words and maybe use gestures – it’s important to remember however, that not all one year olds will have reached this stage as they all develop at their own pace.

Your one year old should start to understand words like ‘bye-bye’ and ‘up’, especially when you use a gesture at the same time and they should recognise the names of familiar objects, such as ‘car’, ‘daddy’ and ‘teddy’. They may also take turns in conversations, babbling back to an adult as they talk to them.

Ways to encourage your 1 year old to start talking

You can copy your baby when they’re babbling, take turns to babble and ‘have a baby conversation’.

You can also use actions with the words you say, such as waving as you say “byebye” or holding your hands out to your baby and saying “up” – this will help them understand the words better and encourage them to say them.

Have fun singing action songs with your baby like Incy Wincy Spider and play games like Peek-a-Boo to encourage their communication skills to develop.

Things to look out for:

• Do they try and get your attention?

• Are they able to shout, point or make noises if something is out their reach?

• If you put 4 familiar objects near your baby and ask for one of them eg. Where’s the car? Does your baby look at the car or point to it or perhaps give it to you?

• If you talk to your baby and ask a question do they make noises and try to answer or join in the conversation?

Baby milestones: Talking