How to Help your Baby Learn to Talk
Most babies say their first words somewhere between 10 and 14 months old. But learning to talk starts at birth, when your baby first experiences how voices sound.
Every baby develops at their own pace, but there are ways you can help your baby learn to talk.
Birth – 3 Months
When your baby is cooing or gurgling, they are trying to copy you. By talking and singing to your baby, even before birth, you can help your baby learn to talk. They might not understand what you are saying, but they like to hear your voice and will try to copy you. Don’t feel that you must talk or sing constantly, though. Babies need quiet time to practice the noises and sounds they are learning.
3 – 6 Months
Continue talking to your baby, even if it is just telling them what you are doing as you change and feed them. Listen to the noises your baby makes in return. If they are trying to copy you, repeat the word again. A varied tone such as a singsong voice will keep your baby interested.
6 – 12 Months
When out for a walk, point out objects, like a car, or a bus, or a cat. Use simple words initially to help your baby learn to talk. They will want to copy you. You can try the same technique with books, pointing at the pictures and talking about what you can see. Play games like peek-a-boo or nursery rhyme games. You can also ask questions like ‘Where is the cat?’ to encourage your baby to respond.
12 – 18 Months
By now your baby may well say one or two words, sometimes incorrectly. Don’t criticise them but correct them. Your baby is still learning and will take time to learn how to say words correctly. Give them choices such as apple or banana to help expand their vocabulary. Use pictures in books to ask them questions or point to things in the room or on their body that you want them to learn. Continue using nursery rhymes and their actions to help your baby learn to talk. The actions can help them remember the words.
18 – 24 Months
At school, we learn by repetition. Help your baby learn to talk in the same way. Repetition helps them to remember. Continue to ask them questions about the pictures in the book or things in the room, pointing as you speak. At this age, your baby should also be able to follow instructions – when they choose to! – but keep any instructions simple so they can understand. Reward them with smiles and cheerful voices when they carry out the instructions.
24 Months +
At this age, your baby will make enormous leaps in their vocabulary. They will start to string sentences together. Keep talking to them. Ask questions and continue to read to them to help them continue their learning journey.
Follow these tips and you will help your baby learn to talk – and you might wish for some quiet again!