Baby Speech Development Process and Timeline
When a child begins to communicate verbally this is called speech development. It should be noted that language development and speech development are two different things. A child can excel in language and be delayed in speech and vice versa. Here we will focus briefly on the baby speech development process and timeline.
The first three years of life hold the most significant stages in speech development. When a child reaches, a new milestone will vary from child to child.
Generally, if a child fails to meet a speech milestone their pediatrician should be alerted but it most likely does not cause concern. Your doctor will check for health issues that may be causing a delay such as bad hearing.
If a delay is suspected and no health issues can be found you may be recommended to a speech therapist that can help get your child back on track verbally.
Baby Speech Development / Speech and Language Milestones:
By five months of age a baby should:
- react to sounds
- Turn head in the direction of voices
- Watch your face when you speak
- Make noise when spoken to and vocalize emotion (giggling, crying, etc.)
By 11 months of age a baby should:
- understand the word “no”
- Make babbling noises such as ba-ba-ba
- Attempt to communicate using gestures and actions
- Attempt to imitate your sounds
By age 1 ½ a child should:
- Answer simple questions non-verbally and follow simple instructions
- Points at objects to express want
- Imitates simple words
- Says 2-3 words (they do not need to be clear)
By age 2 a child should:
- Enjoy stories
- Point to body parts when named
- Understand simple verbs such as “eat” or “sleep”
- Pronounces most vowels and attempts other sounds.
- Say 8-10 words clearly or unclearly
- Asks for common items or foods by name
- Makes animal sounds
- Starts to combine words such as “up please”
- Expresses possession such as saying, “mine”
The best way to help your child develop speech is to talk to them. Narrate everyday experiences and read to your child often. For example name objects at the grocery store, converse about your day, etc.
Any words a child hears begin to expand his or her vocabulary and teach them words. Children learn through imitation.
Baby Speech Development by Talking and Reading Activities to your babies
While you may feel silly or as if you are talking to yourself when talking to a newborn or infant who can’t say much of anything back studies show that children that were talked to often as infants had higher IQ and vocabulary scores later in life.
Babies learn language by listening to the world around them so the more words you let them hear the more words they’ll learn.
You can talk to your baby anytime about anything. If you’re at a loss for what to talk about just tell your baby about your day or what the two of you have planned for the day. Describe things you are doing such as changing his or her diaper, for older babies point out items and explain what they are or what they do.
Try to talk to your baby like a regular person at least some of the time. Babies do enjoy the baby talk, but babies that hear nothing but baby talk may not learn to talk normally as they age.
You can if you like to use a sing-song or higher pitched pleasant voice, newborns, in particular, enjoy this. In fact, singing is another great way to introduce words to babies, not to mention many babies love music and later love to dance.
Reading to your baby is yet another excellent way to instill a lifelong love of books and also introduce a more varied vocabulary. You and others around your baby probably have a basic vocabulary you use, and don’t use some words that may be more common in books.
In this way, books introduce new and exciting words to infants. Older babies also enjoy the stories and toddlers may begin to add to them.
If you wish your child to be multilingual later in life, you may also consider adding books, stories, songs, or simply conversations (if you speak another language) into your baby’s everyday life.
Studies show children under three learn other languages easier than older children, and children that were exposed to languages in infancy learn them even easier.