As a parent, your child’s first words are magical sounding like music n your ears. However, children achieve speech and language milestones differently. But the question is, how can you tell your child’s speech and language are on the right track?
Every child is different, but there are general milestones that can guide you on normal language and speech development. These milestones are important to help doctors and other health practitioners determine when your child might need extra help.
Normally, infants between birth and 3 months will show the following abilities
- Your baby will turn towards the direction of familiar sounds and voices
- Cry differently when expressing his/her different needs
- Smile or quiet down when you speak to them
- Make sounds to indicate pleasure
- Gurgle, whimper, grunt, and chuckle
- Make vowel sounds like “ah”, and “ooh”
- Make cooing sounds
- Smile once they see you
When your child is between 3 to 6 months, he/she can be able to do the following;
- Turn his/her head towards the person speaking
- Show response to different changes in voice tone
- Squeal, laugh, and sigh
- The baby sound might be louder with screeches
- Cry differently because of hunger or pain
- Express pleasure, excitement, and displeasure
- Blow bubbles and sputter loudly
- Shape their mouths in readiness to change sounds
- Show their desires with actions
- Copy sounds, gestures, and inflections
- Make new sounds that may sound speech like “m”, “b”, “p”
It is important to note that babies sound and babbling at this stage are the same throughout the world, even the deaf. Hence babies can learn any language in their capacity. But their social interactions determine the language they will eventually talk to.
This baby’s speech development stage is important for receptive language development. However, between 6 and 9 months, your baby might begin to;
- Respond accordingly to angry and friendly tones
- Play with sounds
- Make varied sounds longer
- Respond to their names consistently
- Identify sounds like “mama”, “bye-bye”, “dada”
- Show active interest when you are talking even though not to them
- Listen to speech and other sounds keenly
- Try out different intonation, pitch, and volume
- Mumble random consonants and vowels
- Change sounds using their tongues
- Imitate speech sounds and intonations
- Repeat syllables
At this age your baby might begin to do the following;
- Show response to simple requests
- Listen when you are speaking to him/her
- Show recognition of family member’s names and common objects
- Understand what different gestures mean
- Understand when you say no!
- Associate different voices with people
- Know their names when mentioned
- Other than crying, use sounds to get attention
- Scream and shout
- Use “dada” and “mama” for any person
- Repeat sounds
- Practice inflections
- Use several vowels and consonants
- Take part in increased vocal play
After the first year of your child’s life language development starts to differ from child to child. Also, by the time your child is 12 months, he/she will be able to appropriately use “dada/mama. Again, at this age, your child will lose and gain some words temporarily. And begins to;
- Request for help with sounds and gestures
- Start to use incomplete words
- Speak and gesture no!
- Laugh in accordingly
- Comprehend and follow one-step instructions
- Know his/her name
- Use four to six comprehensible words. Especially words starting with “g”, “b”, ‘d”, “c”. however, outsiders can only comprehend about 20% of your child language.
When your child is between this age, they will usually;
- Use words that are complete
- Form a short sentence by putting two short words together
- Use around 10 to 20 understandable words, which are mostly nouns
- Comprehend “up”, “hot”, “off”, “down”
- Babble and imitate and repeat phrases and words
- However, at this age, 20 to 25 % of your child speech can be understood by outsiders
You should not measure your child’s speech development against other children. But rather, against well raid developmental milestones. However, you should consult your child pediatrician in case your child has not caught up with speech and language developmental milestones for his or her age.
Besides encourage your child to talk, by telling him/her what you are doing, by reading, and singing songs together. Also, you can teach your child to copy your actions like clapping and imitating animal sounds.
Again listen as your child talk and repeat with correct words. Finally, remember, your child will learn to speak by listening and imitating you.
Related: How many words at 15 months