Concerned About Your Baby’s Speech Development? Would you like to give your baby the go-ahead for language development? Then you are in luck! Let’s check out the typical milestones in baby speech and language development, as well as 10 ways you can encourage your baby to speak!
Milestones in Baby Language
From the moment your baby enters the world, it listens to your voice. At three months old, your baby will begin to vocalize in order to lay the foundation for future language development. After 24 months, your child may be able to speak 50 or more words. This is a crucial time and a great opportunity to help your baby start speaking!
Note that the following milestones are only guidelines for health professionals and parents to follow the child’s development. But every child develops at their own pace. If you are concerned about your baby’s language development or feel like your child is falling behind on important milestones, don’t be afraid to speak to your baby’s pediatrician about your concerns.
Between three and four months, your baby can:
- Smile in response to your voice and face
- Make cooing noises
- Have different screams for different needs
Between six and seven months, your baby can:
- Make gurgling noises
- Uses vocalizations to express joy or anger
- Move your eyes to see where a sound is coming from
- Notices changes in tone in your voice (Example: Responding crying when upset)
- Seems to be hearing music
- Notices that his / her toy is making noise
Between 12 and 13 months, your baby can:
- Imitates clay
- Says little simple words like “dada”
- Understand instructions in one step (“Come here”)
- Recognizes words for everyday objects
- Turns your head to respond to sounds
Between 24 and 25 months, your child can:
- Use simple sentences like “more please”
- Ask one or two word questions
- Follow and understand simple instructions
- Say 50 or more words
- The pronunciation of the language can be understood by parents and carers 50% of the time
10 ways to help your child start speaking
1. Increase the ability to pretend to play
The role play not only stimulates your child’s imagination, but also increases language development. The imaginative game opens the door to the introduction of new words in response to different social situations. Until your Child starts talkingYou have to participate in pretend play exercises and take the lead in many activities.
Here are some inventive game ideas that you can try:
- Have a fake tea party with the queen
- Grocery store with pretend food
- Have a fake dinner party
- Play a doctor with your child’s favorite cuddly toy
2. Ask your child to help with everyday tasks
One way to help your child speak is to ask for help with everyday tasks. Your toddler is around the age they will love getting things done and helping you with everything. Take advantage of this by asking your child for help!
As you ask your child for help, you will expand their vocabulary and the steps to complete everyday tasks. Ask your child to bring items out of the refrigerator that they will need for a meal. Not only will this give your child an early lesson in how to prepare and cook meals, but it will also help your child identify foods.
Example: “Can you help mom by getting the cheese?”
You may need to help and allow your child to mess around in the fridge first, but it’s worth it once your child starts to identify and say common foods!
3. Offer choices
Your child is his own person. So offer a choice for whatever you can. From two snacks to what to wear for the day. The only thing to remember is to name the articles!
For example: “Would you like cheese spreads or fruit snacks?”
4. Manners and greetings
Every time you interact with someone else, teach your child how to understand and use social greetings. When you say goodbye to someone, look and say to your child, “Say goodbye,” and wave. Eventually, your child will begin to mimic the gesture.
Same goes for manners. In giving your child a cup of milk, you are helping them to say please and thank you. (“Say thank you!”).
5. Daily routine
Setting up a daily routine will help your child understand how the day’s activities are structured and what each activity is called. Before you know, your child will ask you to “brush your teeth” when they wake up in the morning.
6. Sign language
I am a huge advocate of the use of sign language in children! It helped my four year old with autism dramatically improve his understanding and language development. For my 18 month old husband, sign language has helped give him a “voice” while also improving the clarity of his words.
Some of the easiest signs to learn (and most helpful to you) are:
- You’re welcome
- Many Thanks
- Brush teeth
According to Parents.comThere is no scientific evidence that sign language delays language development in babies. In fact, some research suggests an increase in language development when using speech gestures by parents. It also reduces the frustration a child may experience when unable to verbally communicate.
7. Eye contact
Make eye contact before speaking to or giving instructions to your child. That way, without the distraction, your child can focus only on you and see how you pronounce words and facial expressions appropriately.
8. Slow down
When your child tries to say a new word, repeat the word slowly. This way, your child can see your mouth move to help formulate the word. This will help to improve speech intelligibility over time.
Praise for every word attempt! And give praise even more! Even if your child says the word wrong. Just say “That’s right! It’s a banana. Nice try!”
10. Use learning apps for toddlers
An easy way to help your child speak is with the Speech Blubs app! Children can start using educational apps from around 2 years of age. This is a great alternative to passive screen time like watching TV. The Speech Blubs app combines peer video modeling to teach kids new words associated with many categories such as animals, shapes, and numbers. There is also a built-in reward system for when a child completes the task with a fun interactive educational game! You can read more Speech Blubs Reviews Here!
Babies develop quickly, especially in the first year. By the time your baby is 24 months old, they will have reached many milestones in language development. But don’t worry if your child isn’t around yet. Just Use the 10 Ways Above to Help Your Baby Start Talking!
About the author
Liz Talton is the contributing writer for the Speech Blubs Blog. After her son received an Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment, she decided to do whatever she can to help her little one. She is a full-time blogger, homeschooling mom, and autism attorney. Before starting a family, she received a masters degree in forensic psychology and mental health.
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