Even before your baby was born it could hear your voice and they started to learn how language works. From birth the great adventure of learning to talk starts. Research has shown that within a month of birth, new-borns are able to learn and differentiate sounds of language. Your tiny new-born practises their lip, tongue and palate movements that are all required to properly talk.
From just a few months old your baby will make babbles, consonant sounds like buh or duh. While your baby makes these wonderful babble sounds they will also start coordinating their noises with eye contact. Your baby is having a conversation with you! This time is so important for your baby to start developing their social skills. When you coo and chat with your baby make sure you stop and let them respond in some way, this lets them know how interested you are in them and gives them massive pleasure and reinforces the close bond you have with them. Imitate the sounds they make and let them know how much you are enjoying the conversation by smiling and laughing with them.
From four to five months your baby is discovering how exciting the noises they can make are. They are exploring what they can do with their skills. They will also laugh a lot which will make for some beautiful photos, so make sure you have your camera ready!
At roughly six to seven months you may start interpreting your baby’s babbles as words. Your baby’s brain will start will start cataloguing the words they hear so be sure to carry on talking to your baby as much as possible. Read to them and point out things and people. ‘Look, can you see daddy? He is in the garden by the big apple tree.’ Your little one loves the sound of your voice and they are learning constantly so if you can, try and narrate your day together. The babbles you will hear from your baby are known as canonical babbles. Your baby may well repeat words you say such as dada, or mama, their brain is hard at work associating their words with objects and people.
The last stage of babbling is between 10 and 15 months. You will be able to hear distinctive words although it will often seem like your toddler is speaking a language of their own. This language period is called Jargoning and your little one will be able to understand a lot more than they can say. Encourage your child’s language abilities by playing interactive singing games with them like ‘pat a cake’ or ‘insy winsy spider’.
Don’t worry if your child is not as advanced as you would like, all children develop at different speeds and the most important thing is that you and your little one love spending time together, playing singing and talking to each other. It is suggested by speech and language pathologists however that if your child’s first words are delayed beyond 15 months that you go and see your baby’s doctor.
Remember that your little ones loves interacting with you and never be embarrassed by baby talk, research conducted by the Carnegie Mellon University has revealed that infant-directed speech helps infants learn words more quickly than normal adult speech. So when your baby babbles, be sure to babble back!
“By loving them for more than their abilities we show our children that they are much more than the sum of their accomplishments.”