When do babies start talking is one of the most frequently asked questions, especially by first-time parents. The ability to say and understand words is a major developmental milestone, while hearing the words “mama“ or “dada“ melts every parent’s heart. Children learn to talk at a different pace but there are some language development milestones that can help you determine if your child is reaching developmental milestones within the expected time. By the end of 3 months, your baby’s main tool of communication is crying. He or she will cry when hungry, when tired, when needing a dipper change, etc. but will cry differently for different things. You will also discover that your baby responds to sounds by quieting for instance, appears to recognize your voice and smiles when spoken to.
By the end of 6 months, your baby will start to babble and make gurgling sounds. You may even hear the first “mama“ or “dada“, however, babies are not aware of the meaning of “mama“ and “dada“ at this stage. Babbling is still just babbling although your child will use his or her voice voice to express content or discontent. He or she will also learn to distinguish the changes in the tone of your voice and move his or her eyes in the direction of voices or sounds.
By the end of 12 months, your child should master a few words including “mama“ and “dada“, understand the meaning of “no“ and simple instructions such as “Give me your hand“. The babbling will start making sense as your child will begin imitating your language. He or she should also respond to sounds by eye contact and turning his or her head in the direction of sounds.
By the end of 18 months, your child will continue to learn new words. However, do not expect too much though. Most children say up to 10 words by the age of 18 months although they understand the meaning of much more words and will point to a familiar object or person when named.
By the end of 24 months, your child will say new words on a regular basis and use simple two- to three-word sentences and questions as well as start using pronouns. He or she will also understand simple instructions without gestures.
There are no sure ways to accelerate your child’s language development. It is crucial to talk to your child as often as possible because he or she cannot learn to talk if not hearing the language. Talk to your child when playing, changing diaper, feeding, etc. The more you talk to your child the better. Another great way is to read to your child. It will not only help your child expand his or her vocabulary but it is also enjoyable to children of all ages. Also, be sure to listen to your child when talking because he or she is more likely to talk if you show interest when he or she is talking or trying to say something.
Keep in mind that children learn to talk at a different pace. However, be sure to consult with your doctor if your child:
– does not make any sounds by the age of 6 months
– does not respond to sounds which may signal a hearing problem
– does not say words by the age of 15 months
– loses already acquired verbal skills
– does not make an eye contact