A baby typically starts babbling, using speech-like sounds, between four to six months of age. Usually, the sounds p, b, and m are the first to develop. Additionally, in this age range, a baby is more interactive with the parent or caregiver, laughing and vocalizing displeasure or excitement. Between seven months to a year of age, communication will expand and most babies are producing repetitive consonant-vowel combinations such as baba or dada, using gestures for communication, using vocalization to gain and maintain attention, and by one year of age a baby typically has one or two words or word approximations.
A parent or caregiver can support their baby’s language development or “talking” by encouraging all communication, interacting on their baby’s level, and making communication opportunities.
- Match your child’s communications and interaction attempts, including repeating his/her vocalizations and gestures. By matching your baby’s vocalizations, you are communicating on a level that allows them to maintain communication turn-taking. Additionally target speech games and songs such as itsy-bitsy spider, peek-a-boo, and gestures such as clapping, blowing kisses, and waving hi/bye.
- Talk through daily routines such as bath time, bedtime, get dressed, and feedings. You are providing your baby with the associated language during these daily routines. Talk through the plan for the day, what will you be doing, where you are going, who are they seeing, etc.
- Teach your child gestures and signs to support language development.
- Teach your child animal sounds (e.g., moo, baa) and environmental sounds (e.g., vroom, beep).
- Spend time reading to your child and labeling pictures in books.
- Reinforce your baby’s communication attempts by giving them eye contact and interacting with him or her.
- Simplify your language during communication interactions with your baby.
- Make communication opportunities within routines and daily activities.
- Limit your baby’s exposure to television and/or videos. A 1:1 interaction between a parent and child is preferable to support turn-taking communication.
Remember there is a range of typical development. Not all babies will have their first words around one year of age!
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!