One of the first tasks of parenting is to stay ahead of your little one’s speech and language development. Learning how babies commonly communicate helps you provide the right kind of support at each stage.
How do you know if your child’s speech and language skills are developing on schedule? There are many speech development milestones to watch out for that help gauge the health of your child’s speech skills.
Speech Development Milestones
From birth to 12 months, babies develop their ability to make sounds. They’re learning how to communicate with their parents and others around them through the sounds they make. Babies’ first word typically occurs around 12 months, though most babies don’t start talking until they’re closer to 18 months or 2 years old.
Between 18 months and 3 years old, toddlers begin using sentences that consist of two words at a time. At this stage, toddlers can also understand simple phrases such as “I want” and “no.”
By 4 years old, children can form full sentences with nouns, verbs and adjectives. They can also use pronouns like “me” and “you.” At this stage in their speech development process, kids can communicate simple ideas like asking for something they want or telling someone where they want to go play outside.
Developing language is both a natural and learning process and each baby has his own pace
What Are Some Milestones in Language Development
There are many milestones in language development, but some of the most important ones are:
- Understanding the meaning of words and phrases
- Understanding sentences and how they relate to each other
- Being able to use language for communication
- Using grammatical structures correctly
Stages of Baby Speech Development
Babies are aware of sounds in their environment. They cry if it’s very noisy as they are still unfamiliar with most of the sounds they hear. To express their feelings, they make sounds. It is the infant’s way of communicating.
0 to 3 Months
Babies start to respond to familiar voices and will listen closely to anything that they are not familiar with. To express delight at seeing their parents or anyone familiar, they usually smile or make a ‘goo-goo’ sound. It is possible to differentiate their cries at this age.
4 to 6 Months
They start to respond to the word “no” and seem to be fascinated at other sounds such as music, the ‘whirr’ of electrical appliances and animal sounds. At this point, a baby should be able to open their throat and make gurgling sounds. They are most likely able to sound out consonants such as m, b and p.
7 to 12 Months
At this age, babies are already familiar with their names and will look at anyone who calls them. They will start responding to questions and requests. They will also be familiar with the names of common household objects and can point at them when asked. This is when babies are most likely to say their first word as they can now combine vowel and consonant sounds.
Every child is unique and develops at his own pace. Try not to compare your child with other children as this can only cause you undue stress and unnecessary pressure on your child.
Some of you may already be panicking after reading about the various stages of language development. However, bear in mind that the milestones enumerated above are general ideas and should not be interpreted too rigidly. Remember some children can stay in one stage longer than others while some may go through each stage very quickly.
When Do Babies Start Making Sounds
Babies start making sounds when they’re just a few months old. They may make a cooing noise or a gurgling sound, and they’ll be able to recognise their own names. By the time they turn one year old, most babies are saying entire words and phrases.
If you’re curious about when your baby started making noises, it’s easy to remember what his or her first sounds were like. If you have a video camera or an audio recorder, you can listen back later and see if any clues point towards the source of those first noises!
When Do Babies Start Babbling
Babies start babbling at about six months, but the way they do it is different from how adults do.
Babies’ babbling sounds more like repetitive vowel sounds. They’ll say “ahh” over and over again, or “eee,” or “ooh.” They’ll also add some consonants in there to make what they’re saying even more evident.
You can help your baby start talking by making sure you talk to them all the time. And when they start producing these vowel sounds and consonants, try to repeat them back to them—that’s how they learn new words!
When Do Babies Start Talking
Babies start talking when they are about 6 months old, but some may start earlier. At this age, babies can understand simple words and can repeat them back to you. They also begin to imitate sounds and facial expressions.
At around 8 months, your baby will start using more words in everyday conversation with you. At this point, they’ll probably have around 10 words in their vocabulary, though some will have more. Your child may also use gestures like pointing or waving to communicate with you. They may also be able to say “mama” or “dada” at this stage.
By 12 months old, your baby will be able to say several words clearly and consistently. They may also understand many words that you say and make requests for things they want by pointing or gesturing toward the object of their desire (for example, pointing at a cookie).
When Do Babies Start Talking Clearly
It depends on the baby. Some are chatty from day one, while others don’t start speaking until they’re a little older. The average age of first words is 12 months (1), but the range is wide. Some kids can speak in full sentences by 18 months, while others don’t utter their first word until age 2 or 3 (2).
Remember that there’s no such thing as “late talking,” even if it seems like your child is taking forever to start talking. It’s just part of development, and it happens when it happens. Give them time, and watch for signs that they’re getting ready to talk.
When Do Babies Say Mama and Mean It
Babies start to say “mama” before they have any concept of what the word means. However, when your baby does learn that mama means you (or another person), it’s important to teach them that mama is a word for people in general, not just for you.
You might notice your baby saying mama when she sees someone on TV or in a picture book. This is because her brain connects the sound with something she sees, so she can’t yet understand that mama isn’t just for you.
It’s important to tell her that mama is also used when talking about other people besides herself—and that if she wants someone else to come to see her or do something with her, then she should use the word “mama” when she wants them to come over!
At What Age Is Speech Fully Developed
Speech is a complicated phenomenon, and it develops in stages. When does speech fully develop?
The first stage of speech development is pre-speech, which lasts from birth until about 2 years old. During this stage, children learn how to communicate using gestures and sounds that represent their needs or wants.
For example, they may point to something they want or make a noise when they are hungry.
The next stage is called holophrastic speech. This begins at around 2 years old and continues through 4 years old or so. During this time, children understand that words can be combined together into sentences and can use two-word phrases (holophrastic) to express their needs or wants.
In other words, they can say things like “want milk” instead of just pointing at something or making a noise like “milk!”
The final stage of speech development is called telegraphic speech. This occurs from about 4 years old through 8 years old or so when children start stringing more than two words together into sentences but still don’t understand the grammar rules for forming sentences in English (or any other language).
In the telegraphic speech, children might say something like “I want milk please” instead of just saying “milk please.”
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How to Encourage Speech Development
Instead of stressing yourself out, take a look at the following suggestions to help jump-start your baby’s language development.
1. Integrate language learning in your baby’s daily activities
As a parent, it is definitely exciting, yet challenging for you to help develop your baby’s language development. Your role is very important as you are your baby’s constant companion. You don’t have to wait for those ‘special moments’ to start helping your baby to develop language. Each moment that you spend with him or her is a ‘teaching moment’.
When your baby “coos”, say something in return. This will help your baby get the idea that the sounds that come out of his or her mouth can catch mummy’s or daddy’s attention. Studies show that children who were responded to when they made sounds as babies had better cognitive skills
when they were older than those who were just ignored.
However, experts say that parents should not respond to every babble as their babies grow older. Mummies and daddies should only respond to comprehensible sounds. This will help the little ones to determine which sounds are effective–making them work harder at repeating them.
2. Interact with your child as often as possible
You should find enjoyment in interacting with your baby. According to some studies, babies that are exposed to television, learn six words less than their non-tv-viewing counterparts.
Parents are advised not to let their babies watch any television
at all. As you do things for him, pretend to be talking to an adult and explain what you’re doing in detail. You can also read stories or rhymes. Try to make communicating something really fun for your baby.
3. Talk to your baby the way he wants you to
You may think that baby talk is silly but experts say that this way of talking is actually beneficial for babies. Stretching out the sounds of each syllable actually helps babies become sensitive to individual letter sounds. This makes their auditory facilities more discerning. So start using that sing-song intonation when talking to your baby.
Babies also need to see your lips when you’re talking to them. Before they can understand any word that you’re saying, they first need to learn how to segment. That means they have to see when one word ends and another one begins.
4. Help your baby learn the names of things
Object labelling is an important practice which parents can use to help their child’s language development. Parents can point to an object while saying, “This is ______.” But this should be done normally with parents just following the lead of their babies. Ensure your timing is correct so your baby can associate the right label with an object.
While doing object labelling, you can use exaggerated motions to attract your baby’s attention. This practice makes the experience not just auditory but visual as well.
5. Allow your baby to interact with other people
It’s definitely tempting to keep your baby to yourself but experts say that babies learn words easily if spoken by a variety of speakers.
Researchers discovered that a baby will have a hard time learning a new word if only one person is saying it. Even if this certain person keeps on repeating the word, babies will still not get it. But learning a new word will become easy for babies if it’s spoken by many people.
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